Tomorrow’s the day when state Rep. Stephen LaRoque plans on holding a press conference to address the NC Policy Watch’s investigation “Public money, personal gains” into two non-profits LaRoque runs.
The press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Kinston-Lenoir County Visitors and Information Center, at 101 E. New Bern Road in Kinston.
The center is a public building, and the press conference will apparently be open to the public. (See update below.)
That comes despite LaRoque’s insistence last week that NC Policy Watch wouldn’t be allowed to attend.
We’ll be there to report what he has to say.
Update, 11:34 a.m.: Well, looks like we might have spoken too soon about LaRoque’s press conference.
Kinston Interim City Manager Bill Ellis says it’s up to LaRoque as to whether the public can attend the press conference.
The room was reserved by LaRoque, and can be used however he wants to use it, Ellis said. The publicly-owned building often allows residents to use the meeting room for private events, for a fee.
“We’re not doing something for him that we wouldn’t do for anyone else,” Ellis said.
The city originally wasn’t going to charge LaRoque, but now Ellis says he’ll charge him the same $40 fee it does to anyone else.
Whether or not the press conference is public attracted attention in LaRoque’s hometown paper, the Kinston Free-Press, where managing editor Bryan Hanks reported this weekend that the press conference would be open to the public.
From Hanks’ column:
BIG WEEK FOR LAROQUE: Conservative N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, has been under assault from the left-leaning N.C. Policy Watch, especially after a series of stories was published about a week and a half ago.
LaRoque will address those articles and the charges included within them at a press conference Tuesday morning in Kinston. It will be held at the Lenoir County Visitor’s Center at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Queen Street and the public is welcome to attend the proceedings.
We’re hoping to be allowed in, and to directly hear LaRoque’s reaction to our stories.
Those who read the investigation will recall that several attempts were made to hear from LaRoque before publication, to hear any explanations he had about how he reported his compensation to the IRS. Those attempts included an email sent to his legislative address with 16 specific questions about the investigation’s findings.
He chose not to respond. We’ll wait and see what he has to say tomorrow.