Black gets an extension, pays half of $1 million fine

The Matthews Democrat is serving a sentence in federal prison in Pennsylvania for accepting illegal payments from campaign contributors, mostly in cash received in men's bathrooms.

In a release, attorney Allen Powell said Black paid the fine to the school system in Wake County, where he was convicted.

“I always intended to leave a portion of my estate to help secure the enhancement of North Carolina's public educational system,” Black said in a statement.

The fine originally was due last year. But his attorneys argued that Black was unable to sell real estate at a fair market value. A Superior Court judge then set a July 1 deadline, with one condition: Black had to put up property as a guarantee.

He chose his former optometry office in uptown Charlotte, valued for tax purposes at $1.2 million. The judge wrote that the property could be sold at foreclosure if needed.

Black has received another extension and must pay the remaining $500,000 by January. He also must pay by that time $54,000 in investigative costs to the state Board of Elections, said Wake County Assistant District Attorney David Sherlin.

It's unclear where Black got the money to pay the fine. Mecklenburg property records indicated he still owns the uptown property.

“The only legacy that Jim Black will leave the state of North Carolina is one of political corruption and personal shame,” said Joe Sinsheimer, a former Democratic campaign consultant who has criticized Black.