McCrory halts Rural Center spending after critical audit

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory ordered Thursday that the flow of state money to and spent by the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center stop immediately, according to WRAL.

The move comes one day after a state audit criticized the nonprofit for a lack of oversight and exorbitant salaries and hours after longtime Rural Center President Billy Ray Hall resigned.

“It is the right decision for the organization and the rural communities we serve,” Hall wrote in a memo to the Rural Center’s board of directors.

In a hand-delivered letter, McCrory budget director Art Pope told Rural Center officials not to pay any state funds in compensation to any employees.

According to the report, the center’s board set up a severance account for Hall a decade ago, and it now has nearly $242,000. Chairwoman Valeria Lee said she believes he should receive the money.

“There is no question it was warranted,” Lee said. “Hall had grown the organization so substantially. He brought it to become the significant player that it is in rural economic development.”

Read More: WRAL