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Second ECU trustee resigns in wake of scandal

Resignation letter takes apparent swipe at N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

Robert Moore, the East Carolina University Board of Trustees member censured as part of an SGA election scandal earlier this month, has resigned from the school’s governing board.

Former ECU Trustee Robert Moore.

In a letter to N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) Monday, Moore said his resignation would be effective immediately — and appears to have taken a swipe at the House speaker on his way out.

“In closing I want to again thank you for the opportunity to serve the institution that I have come to adore and love,” Moore wrote to the Speaker. “I would also like to wish you the very best of luck in your continued pursuit of the position of Chancellor at East Carolina University.”

Tim Moore has for months been rumored to be pursuing the UNC System presidency. Moore has repeatedly denied the rumor, though his denials have become less emphatic.

Robert Moore’s suggestion that the Speaker is pursuing the chancellorship of East Carolina University comes while that school is beginning the search for its next leader. Its last full-time chancellor was forced to resign by the UNC Board of Governors — and no reason was ever publicly given. Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach resigned the position after it was alleged he drank heavily with students in bars near campus — and then drove home.

As revealed in a UNC investigation of the Gerlach affair, several figures close to the scandal suggested the Speakers’ office was involved in attempts to make damning photos and video of Gerlach publicly available.

Earlier this month Robert Moore and fellow ECU Trustees Phil Lewis were brought before the Board of Governors after they were recorded trying to convince ECU student Shelby Hudson to run for SGA president. The two told Hudson they could arrange for a professional campaign manager and finance her campaign as long as she kept the source of the money secret. Hudson recorded the lunch conversation without Moore or Lewis’ knowledge.

On the recording the two trustees disparaged the current ECU student government president, Colin Johnson, who is a voting member of the board of trustees. Lewis and Moore have opposed a number of Johnson’s votes, going back to a contentious meeting wherein he was the swing vote in the election of a new of board chair. Vern Davenport, the current board chair, won the position 7-6 on the sharply divided board. On the tape, they told Hudson they had voted for a student fee increase to “punish” Johnson and suggested she could be an SGA president more in line with their vision for the board and the school. They also made disparaging remarks about ECU leaders and the UNC Board of Governors.

Lewis abruptly resigned his position at a hearing on the matter earlier this month before the Board of Governors could vote on whether to remove him from the board of trustees.

Because Robert Moore was appointed by the N.C. House, that body would have had to remove him.

His resignation Monday came before that debate could take place.

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