The criminal trial against former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque began in earnest Tuesday, with testimony from former board members of his non-profit and federal agriculture officials who oversaw the rural lending program he ran.
Yet to be mentioned are a dozen replica Faberge eggs and jewelry the Kinston Republican is accused of buying with money he stole from his economic development non-profit, East Carolina Development Company. (Click here to read a past blog post about the eggs LaRoque bought, and a brief history of the eggs themselves.)
The trial is being held at the federal courthouse in Greenville in front of Senior U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard.
Former ECDC board member John Melling, a New Bern insurance agent, said he served on the board of East Carolina Development Company for eight years and left in 2006 because he didn’t feel at ease serving a board consisting largely of LaRoques—Stephen, his brother Walter and wife Susan.
“I just felt uncomfortable,” Melling said. “You had three directors, they were all related. Stephen, his brother and his wife.”
Melling had also said he was pleased with the non-profit’s earlier work. Read More…