By Mark Binker
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory has sold the stock he used to own in Duke Energy, the power giant that has come under fire following a Feb. 2 coal ash spill on the Dan River.
The governor has come under criticism for his connections to the company. He worked for Duke for nearly 30 years, and has appointed several former Duke executives to high-profile positions within his administration.
When he first took office, McCrory reported that he owned at least $10,000 in Duke stock. North Carolina’s public disclosure laws did not require him to disclose exactly how much stock he owned. A McCrory spokesman declined to specify the value of the Duke stock McCrory sold.
North Carolina public officials file a new statement of economic interest every year by April 15.
“As public records have shown since April 15, the governor is not a shareholder of Duke Energy” McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said. “This eliminates the often repeated, ridiculous and false, partisan left-wing attacks challenging the intent of our decisions and policies.” Ellis did not specify when McCrory sold the stock, saying only, “before April 15.”
This revelation comes as Duke’s shareholders met in Charlotte today. Although the company’s slate of directors won re-election, the meeting was not without controversy as public pension funds, such as North Carolina’s, called for changes to Duke’s board amidst questions about how the company handled the spill.
“While it would have been better for the Governor to have sold his stock in Duke Energy before taking office, today’s news is a positive development,” said Dustin Chicurel-Bayard, a spokesman for the North Carolina branch of the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group. “We are glad that the Governor is taking steps to show independence from his former employer, the largest utility in the nation, as the state wrestles with how to address the coal ash crisis.”