Updated 06/21/2012 03:58 PM
Perdue staffer responds to DOT letters, says wording was mistake
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RALEIGH -- The state Senate continued its investigation about how two letters with false information got into their hands. The letters urged lawmakers to put funding for two highway toll road projects on the fast track.
On Thursday, an advisor to Gov. Bev Perdue shared his side of the story. Pryor Gibson is accused of altering two letters signed by Department of Transportation Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon.
As it turns out, his side of the story was in direct conflict with the version of the facts given to lawmakers on Wednesday by the DOT.
On Wednesday, the DOT said the letters were false and that a deputy under the CEO, whose signature appears on the letter, was pressured to sign his name to them not knowing they were untrue.
"Did Susan Coward feel pressure from Pryor Gibson to go ahead and carry this out because of the deadline?" said Trogdon. "Yes. At 10:45 we must respond; we have to respond."
On Thursday, Perdue's staff member who was working on getting this letter to the General Assembly said there was no pressure and it was a simple mistake.
"No sir, [the] senator and I have worked on several projects," said Gibson. "I think it is fair to say that is not how I work."
Gibson said he regrets how changes to the letters were made, but it was not a deliberate attempt to mislead lawmakers. He also said he thought the letters were accurate when they were sent.
The Senate will now consider what they have heard from officials this week on this issue and the Rules chairman said the committee will consider what if any steps need to be taken next week.