Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Was Judge Donald Stephens Black-balled?

When considering why it is so important to have an informed electorate prior to our judicial elections, consider this: Former House Speaker Jim Black was sentenced to federal prison for corruption and was allowed to pay off half of a $1 million fine with the transfer of some land he used to own. Wake County School Board member Ray Margiotta and many others voiced their opposition to the deal and said that Black should have paid off the entire $1 million fine in cash. (Hey, look, the guy had the resources!)

Margiotta especially objected to the deal because Wake County schools, the recipient of the proceeds of the fine got $500,000 in cash and the property, which was assessed (wink, wink) at $613,000. Margiotta and others noted that the Mecklenburg tax valuation was really only about $149,000, and it was discovered that the appraisal had been arranged by Black's family.

Now this is a cool deal. If I ever get in trouble in Wake County Court and I have to pay a fine, I could turn to my collection of antique stereographs valued at anywhere from $500 to $3000, depending on who's buying. So if my fine is $2,500, I won't go out and try to sell the darn things...I'll just turn the collection over to Judge Stephens and simply tell him they are worth $3,000.

Anyway, when Stephens learned of the criticism from Margiotta, the News & Observer's Rob Christensen reports, Stephens was "livid at the remarks and summoned a Wake County School Board attorney to his court room to be chewed out. The judge called the remarks 'idiotic' and noted that he had not been obligated to levy any fine against Black."

King Donald was right. He could have simply told former speaker Black to take is Black-as* home and not to do it again....under the law he has that power. However, having accessed the million dollar fine, King D had an obligation to the people of North Carolina to secure the darn money.

Judge Stephens actually said publicly, that he would have to give serious thought to whether he would levy fines in the future that would benefit the Wake County school system.

WTH? ("H"ell sounds better in polite company). Let me get this straight. You are a judge hired by the people of North Carolina to I-N-T-E-R-P-R-E-T the law. You make a decision that some of the people have questions about and you get sooooo upset at them have the nerve to question your reasoning and decision, that you decide to punish their kids in the future? Now THAT'S Royal reasoning.

Now Margiotta, an Art Pope, Koch Brothers supported Republican, apparently bent on segregated schools in Wake County, was most likely more concerned to make sure that the knife in the chest of the former Democrat Speaker, would be pushed in deeply and turned real sweetly, so his views may have been more myopic than it appeared at first blush.

However, Judge Stephens' threatening comments concerning future fine-based financial support to the children of Wake County, prompted The Wake County School Board to send a letter King Donald Stephens thanking him for devoting fines and forfeitures to the school system.

The letter was signed by school board chairman Kevin Hill and said in part: (read between the lines boy and girls...)

Wake County Public School System is extremely fortunate to have been the recipients of fines and forfeitures granted through the courts. These resources are extremely valuable in supporting the education of our children.

As a Board, we hope you will continue to support education in this manner. The education of our children is one of the most important responsibilities of a community, and commitment such as yours has a positive impact.

Talk about having to kiss the ring... (stop it...I said "ring")

Now the facts. If you read this story or see the video, you may come away believing that the King was simply scolding one of the court jesters, but (and I hate to say this about any republican) Margiotta was right. The land wasn't worth the $613,000 that Stephens had accepted that it was at the time; and the latest revaluations from 2011 show that the property’s value has fallen 3.4 percent to $143,900 since 2003.

So North Carolina, Wake County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Donald "Wellington Alowishus Beauregard" Stephens von Wake, the 3rd (not his real name. He just seems like he'd have a name like that. LOL) made a mistake that cost the children of North Carolina $356,100. It was a mistake that was brought to his attention prior to him making it. It was mistake that legally cannot be challenged or amended. It was a mistake that he easily could have avoided had he been more of a judge and less of a king.

The citizens of North Carolina shouldn't be afraid to raise questions or criticisms with elected officials and judges shouldn't threaten our children if they are criticized. Stephens wasn't blackballed...he was Black-balled! The Jim Black team threw him a ball and watched with glee as he ran full court for the lay up!

This time, his animus, hubris, ego and myopia cost us money! November 2012...it's time.....

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