Below is the text of a press release sent Saturday by the office of Gov. Pat McCrory in response to a story printed in the Observer about the extension of a prison maintenance contract for a company owned by Graeme Keith Sr., a prominent Charlotte real estate developer and retired banker and McCrory campaign donor.
Governor’s Office Fact Checks Distorted McClatchy Story
Raleigh, N.C. – The McClatchy newspapers, through their distorted headline and cropped photographs, clearly attempted to give the impression that something improper or even illegal was done. Clearly, just the opposite occurred.
The McCrory administration identified a broken system that led to bad data as a result of contracts signed by the Perdue administration. TheMcCrory administration thoroughly reviewed the data through an ethical process and made a sound, business-like decision that was in the best interest of public safety as well as the taxpayers of North Carolina.
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Governor McCrory and the top leadership on his team fully cooperated with the McClatchy reporters to promptly provide all of the requested documents and conveyed this information. However, the newspaper clearly edited selected facts for a pre-determined false theme – especially through the use of inaccurate headlines and cropped photographs.
McClatchy Claim: McCrory held meeting to extend donor’s contract
FACT: The meeting was not held to make a decision about extending the donor’s contract. The final decision was made by the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) after extensive further review.
Additional Background: This absurd and false headline aims to give the impression that the governor directed the contract to be extended. Furthermore, it aims to give the false impression that the Keith Corporation got the meeting as results of campaign contributions, which were all legal and publicly reported. In fact, the authors’ own article itself contradicts the headline, which clearly and maliciously misleads the public:
After the meeting, the governor called on Roberts, his director of the Office of State Budget and Management, who did not attend.
In an interview, Roberts described the conversation: “He called up shortly after the meeting and said, ‘Look, these guys are talking past each other. Keith Corp. says they are cheaper, DPS says they are cheaper, it’s hard for me to tell which is which. Can you just take a look at it and make a recommendation?’ ”
Another McClatchy Headline: “Over objections of prison staff, Charlotte developer Graeme Keith got extension of $3 million-a-year maintenance deal”
FACT: Prison officials did support terminating the existing contract in 2014. However, McClatchy conveniently misleads the public by omitting the fact that the governor also asked State Budget Director Lee Roberts to review the data and make a recommendation on how to resolve a dispute between Department of Public Safety and the Keith Corporation. The State Budget Office, after thoroughly reviewing the data, made a recommendation to extend the contract for one year, but let it expire at the end of 2015. That decision was based on what OSBM believed was insufficient time for the state to assume the responsibility of prison maintenance as well as a thorough, comprehensive review of the available data.
McClatchy Claim: Article includes a headline stating “A governor’s testimonial”
FACT: The comments about Keith Corporation were from Pat McCrory when he was a private citizen and not holding any elected office. It’s obvious the use of “Governor” was another attempt to mislead their readers and to further promote a false narrative that something improper was done.
McClatchy Claim: The Office of State Budget and Management used metrics preferred by the Keith Corporation in the OSBM analysis.
FACT: The use of gross-square footage is the industry standard and was put in place in the existing contract by the Perdue administration.