The companies of Hobbs Upchurch and Atlantic Corp are two of Marc Basnight’s biggest contributors.  Atlantic Packaging Corp, based in Wilmington, is owned by Rusty Carter.  His son Wes Carter works for Hobbs Upchurch & Associates, an Engineering firm based in Southern Pines.  Rusty Carter, if you remember, is a friend of Mike Easley and was subpoenaed to the Board of Elections in connection with his contributions to Easley.

In 2008, the employees and family members of these two companies contributed $120,000 to Basnight’s campaignWhat is odd is that extraordinary contributions are made by ordinary people with ordinary jobs.  For instance, the Survey Manager of Hobbs Upchurch donated $8000 to Basnight in 2008 and he has been a regular contributor since 2000.  According to Basnight’s BOE filings, Gary Culp, donated $8000 in 2000, $4000 in 2002, $2000 in 2004 and $8000 in 2008.  Culp is listed in 2008 as living in Raeford.  The average salary in Raeford is $36000.  When contacted by phone and asked what compels him to contribute so heavily to Basnight, Culp responded ”

“Well, we’ve been friends for awhile uh and and, uh, when we go out there, uh I try to frequent his restaurant.  But that’s just that. That’s what we got.”

$8000 because he likes his restaurant?  Friend helping a friend?

Hobbs Upchurch website states that they have secured more than $540,000,000 in grants for their projects.  Some of these grants come from agencies in which Basnight has appointed Board Members such as Clean Water Management Trust Fund.  Over $20,000,000 in grants was awarded to Hobbs Upchurch from the CWMTF, according to their website.  Many of the other agencies listed are interconnected, receiving grants from each other such as Golden Leaf the NC Rural Center and several of them have Basnight appointees on their Board.

The cronyism in Raleigh is absolutely sickening.  Our money is manipulated and shared among political donors, appointees and other self-important people who think they know better how to spend our money than we do.  I, for one, have had enough.  It is time for Basnight to go.

UPDATE MAY 3, 2010:   Wes Carter of Hobbs Upchurch says that he is not the son of Rusty Carter.  While ToD investigates the genealogy of Wes Carter, we stand by the thrust of the story which is that Hobbs Upchurch employees made very unusual donations to Marc Basnight.