MetLife used McCrory’s former firm during deal to move 2,600 jobs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 9, 2013

RALEIGH (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory avoided questions Friday about the state offering MetLife Inc. $94 million in tax breaks and other incentives to move thousands of jobs to North Carolina and using his former employer to help broker the deal.
The governor visited the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to tout for a second day the announcement that MetLife would shift 2,600 jobs from offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and California to Charlotte and Cary. McCrory said the state worked hard to attract MetLife.
“Let me tell you there was a lot of competition for this,” he said about one of the largest jobs announcements in North Carolina in years.
McCrory refused to answer any questions about the deal, ignoring reporters’ questions as he followed his aides to a waiting car.
The big jobs announcement resurrects questions about McCrory and his work for Charlotte-based law and lobbying firm Moore & Van Allen. McCrory said last year he performed “client development work” at the firm, but is not a lawyer and had no specific clients.
MetLife hired the company to help secure what is one of the largest packages in state history aimed at attracting one company. The New York-based insurance company began discussing a move to North Carolina about nine months ago, economic development officials said, while McCrory was still employed by Moore & Van Allen.
It’s not clear when MetLife hired the law firm to work on an incentives deal and Moore & Van Allen spokesman Brian Nick, who last year performed the same job for McCrory’s campaign, did not respond when asked how much MetLife paid the law firm.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who lost to McCrory last November, complained McCrory never fully explained his work at Moore & Van Allen, making it hard for the public to know about potential conflicts of interest.
The governor’s involvement in the MetLife incentives discussion “was limited, extremely limited,” spokeswoman Kim Genardo said.