NC State Rep. says ex-DHHS manager should be prosecuted


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A state lawmaker says a former manager at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services should be prosecuted for “stealing taxpayer money.”

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly/Montgomery) made the comments Saturday, the day after it was revealed federal prosecutors had issued subpoenas to DHHS as part of a criminal investigation.

Previous story: DHHS officials being investigated by feds

A DHHS spokeswoman said Friday the department is cooperating with federal investigators who are looking into DHHS employment practices.

The subpoenas were served July 28.

They came two months after state auditors released a report criticizing a former Medicaid manager Angeline Sligh. In their report, auditors wrote they found “at least $1.6 million wasted through excessive wages and commissions, unjustified overtime, and holiday pay to ineligible employees.”

The subpoenas include requests for records from more than two dozen people, including Sligh as well as former Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos.

Rep. Burr said he’s been concerned about Sligh’s management for a long time.

“She should be prosecuted. I believe she’s been stealing taxpayer money, abusing her position,” said Burr, one of the leaders of a legislative oversight committee that’s been investigating DHHS. “It’s very frustrating, especially when warnings were given repeatedly to the department about the behavior of her and the concerns with her continuing to have the permanent position that she held.”

Dr. Wos, who had an embattled tenure as DHHS secretary but who also enjoyed the support of Gov. Pat McCrory, resigned as head of the agency Aug. 5, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.

The governor has not commented on the subpoenas.

Burr said it’s too soon to judge whether Dr. Wos should be prosecuted as well. He did raise concerns about the governor’s legal counsel. “If anything, his attorney, who’s been his general counsel for three-and-a-half years now, this is just another example of something that he should have caught,” said Burr.

In one subpoena of the Custodian of Records, the federal government is seeking records related to:

  • Les Merritt
  • Thomas L. Adams
  • Joe Hauck
  • Angeline Sligh
  • The consulting firm of Alvarez and Marsal

Merritt is a former state auditor who worked as a consultant for DHHS.

Adams got a $37,000 severance payment after one month on the job.

Hauck, who had previously worked for Wos’ husband, made $228,000 for eight months work.

Walker was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011 to serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Walker earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and then attended Campbell University’s School of Law.

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