It appears Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory was the belle of the Pro Am ball during the Wachovia golf championship earlier this month at Quail Hollow Country Club.
When Creative Loafing contacted McCrory two weeks ago to ask him to comment on who furnished his hard-to-come-by tickets for the Wednesday game, the mayor said Wachovia picked up the tab.
So in last week's paper, CL reported that the mayor played in the prestigious Wachovia Pro Am on Wachovia's dime. As it turns out, BellSouth actually forked over the ticket for McCrory's Wednesday game, and Wachovia supplied the ticket for the mayor's Monday game.
McCrory says he didn't mention the BellSouth ticket during the conversation with CL because he was in a hurry and the conversation was cut short because he had to go to a prayer gathering. The 10-minute conversation did end when the mayor left for the meeting, but it had already moved on to other topics before it ended.
But McCrory, at least, returned our calls. Spokespeople for US Senator Richard Burr, who played one round of Pro-Am golf on the Wachovia tab, said they'd get back to us with a comment on whether the preferential treatment by Wachovia would influence Burr's decisions in Washington. Three weeks later, we haven't heard from Burr or his spokespeople.
Adam Sotak, director of organizing for Democracy North Carolina, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working for greater disclosure of the flow of money in politics, says the Pro Am tickets are exactly the kind of high-value political "favor" his group is trying to persuade state leaders to do away with.
"What we have been pushing for at the state level is to cut out some of this coziness between large corporate donors and people who have a vested interest in what happens politically and elected officials through having stricter lobbying reforms and restrictions on gifts that can be given to political candidates and elected leaders," Sotak told CL. "On the state level, it would essentially ban gifts over $10 to elected leaders. There wouldn't be any more Masters tickets for Speaker Black or other things like that."