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Grand Jury Hears Brunswick Tech Case
BY RAHN ADAMS
The Brunswick County Grand Jury iuis instructed the
13th District Attorney's office to investigate alleged
fraud involving continuing education classes at
Brunswick Technical College in Supply.
According to District Attorney Mike Easley, the
grand jury this week learned that continuing education
classes taught by Bertie Faye King of Kingtown were in
vestigated by the SBl during its recent probe.
Easley said the alleged offenses involved “receiving
money for teaching students that were not taught, and
reporting as registered some students who were not pro
perly registered for class.”
The classes in question were taught between June 30.
1986, and Nov. 30, 1986, Easley said.
Jesse Clemmons, dean of continuing education at
Brunswick Tech, said Tuesday he did not know the
results of the SBI investigation, and that he did not know
which of Ms. King's classes were being investigated.
“I really have no response (to the SBI probe),” Clem
mons said, “because I don’t know what’s been done on
Clemmons said Ms. King previously has Uiught a
quilting class for Bruaswick Tech. He said her classes
were held in a workshop area behind her Kingtown home.
Ms. King was unavailable for comment Tue.sday.
According to Easley, the SBI agent assigned to the
Brunswick Tech investigation presented a summary of
his findings to the grand jury Tuesday morning in
“I had the SBI agent in charge of the investigation of
Brunswick Tech subpoenaed to go into the grand jury,”
Easley said. "He went in and gave thetn an oral presenta
tion. summarizing his investigation.
“I did not submit indictments,” he .said, “but I re
quested the grand jury to express an opinion by way of a
Easley defined a “presentment” as a written state
ment from the grand jury requesting an indictment
and/or investigation from the district attorney’s office.
"So pursuant to the grand jury’s request, there will
be further investigation into the matter.” Easley .said.
He .said the grand jury next meets Nov. 2.
Br R I NGPOR T r'l I .JB1
Twenty-fifth Year, Number 44 b.uns«,« Shallotte. North Carolina, Thursday, September Ta 1987
RESORT PLAZA shopping center on U.S. 17 South In Shallotte was “ar
rested and seized” by U.S. marshals last Thursday in connection with co-
PHOTO BY BAHNADXMS
calne trafficking that allegedly occurred there. Businesses in the eomplex
are not involved in the investigation, officials say.
Six More Plead Guilty In Drug Cases
BY RAHN ADAMS
Six more defendants indicted on co
caine trafficking charges earlier this
year by a special investigative grand
jury entered guilty pleas to traffick
ing or lesser charges last week in
Brunswick County Superior Court in
Only one of t.he six was sentenced:
tlie oOiers will be .scheduled for
sriileiic-ing uunUr, l:;te.". of
According to court records, Cleron
Tucker Culley of Shallotte pleaded
guilty Aug. 31 to felonious possession
of more than one gram of cocaine.
He was represented by Shallotte at
torney Mike Ramos.
Culley, one of 32 pcr.sons indicted
June 11, initially was charged with
two counts each of cocaine traffick
ing and conspiracy to traffic in co
The offenses involved 28 grams or
more of cocaine and occurred bet
ween Nov. 15, 1984, and Feb. ’25, 1985.
Following his Juno arrest. Culley
was released from castodv on a
Superior Court Judge Henry W.
Hight Jr. last week handed Culley a
two-year suspended sentence, with
two years of supcr\’ised probation.
Culley was ordered to pay a $250
fine, court costs and a probation fee,
and he will be required to perform 50
.hours of ••Yiminiinily .service work
within 150 days of sentencing.
Other stipulations in Culley’s
sentence require him to submit to
warrantless searches; to neither use
nor pos.se.ss controlled substances; to
not associate with known users of
controlled substances; to undergo a
drug abuse assessment and treat
ment progra.m; a.n.d to testify
truthfully against any eo-lefendants
According to court records, five
other defendants entered guilty pleas
during the Aug. 31 term of Brunswick
County Superior Court.
They included: Ricky Dale
Bellamy, Shallotte; James Elmer
Hatcher, Rt. 1. Winnabow; Charles
Ronald Strickland, Tabor City;
Ronald Dale Ward. .32. Rt. 1. Nakina;
and William Irvin Peal, 24,
All five were indicted in June and
July as a result of work done by the
special investigative grand jury.
Bellamy was indicted on ch.irges
including possession of cocaine and
conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, in
volving more than '28 grams of the
controlled substance. He had
previously entered a plea of not guil
Bellamy last week also pleaded
guilty to firing a weapon into an oc
cupied dwelling and conspiracy to
commit arson in connection with a
July 15, 1986, incident at a Mulberry
Street, Shallotte, residence.
A second-degree arson charge
against Bellamy was dismissed last
Hatcher’s indictments included
five counts each of cocaine traffick
ing and conspiracy, involving
amounts of '28 grams or more. 1 le was
released from custody on a $5,000
Strickland was indicted on three
counts each of trafficking ami con
spiracy, involving 400 grams or
more. He was released on a $600,0(X)
Indictments against Ward inchidod
two counts each of trafficking and
conspiracy, also involving at least
400 grams of cocaine. He also was
released from the Brunswick County
Jail on a $600,000 bond.
Peal was indicted on charges of
conspiracy to possess more than 400
grams of cocaine and possession of
more than 400 grams.
According to the clerk’s office, all
five last week received prayers for
judgment that will be continued from
term to term until they are scheduled
for sentencing by the district at
KBK To Locate In Leland Industrial Park
BY RAHN ADAMS
Officials with KBK Enterprises
said last week the company now
plans to locate its coal ash transfer
site in Leland Industrial Park, not in
the Mill Creek section of Brunswick
According to KBK Vice President
Jerry Chumley, his company is
directing its efforts toward “securing
an option” on a tract of land in the in
dustrial park, located off Mt. Misery
Mike deSherbinin, director of the
county’s Resource Development
Commission, identified the proposed
site as a 15-acre tract owned by the
Brunswick County Economic
DeSherbinin met with KBK of
ficials last week in Bolivia.
Chumley .said KBK plans to begin
construction of the facility “as soon
as possible,” pending approval from
He said KBK has applied for per
mits from the state’s Solid and
Hazardous Waste Division and
Health Services Section to operate
The Marietta, Ga., company plans
to stockpile coal ash from
Southport’s Cogentrix plant, which is
due to begin operation in October.
(.’ogentrix, currently in its pre
operation phase, is a co-generation
plant that will .sell process steam to
Pfizer Chemicals Inc., and use
surplus steam to make electricity for
sale to Carolina Power and Light Co.
According to deSherbinin,
Brunswick County is obligated to pro
vide for disposal of Cogentrix’s coal
ash residuals, as part of the county’s
agreement to get the $83 million plant
to locate here.
DeSherbinin said Cogentnx will be
the county’s largest water user at 3.5
million gallons of water per day.
And he explained that the state is
promoting the re-use of certain waste
materials, like coal ash, instead of
disposing of them in a landfill.
DeSherbinin said the county initial
ly planned to dispose of the ash at the
Brunswick County landfill; however,
the landfill proved not large enough
to handle the waste.
In July, about 20 Mill Creek
residents appeared before the
Brunswick County Board of Commis
sioners to protest KBK’s initial plans
to locate the traasfer facility in their
The residents, worried about possi
ble groundwater contamination and
fugitive dust problems from the coal
ash, presented commissioners with a
150-name petition opposing location
of the facility in Mill Creek.
As a result, commissioners told
KBK to consider alternative sites.
Chumley had discounted the
residents’ worries, saying tests show
ash does not contaminate ground-
water and that precautions would be
taken to keep ash from blowing.
“We contend there’s really no im
pact,” Chumley said again last week.
“What we’re proposing to do here is
not new on the national level, even
though it Ls new in the (Brunswick
(See KBK, Page 2-A)
25c Per Copy
36 Pages, Plus Insert
BY Ry\HN ADAMS
Some 23 businesses in Shallotte’s
Resort Plaza shopping center got a
new landlord last week: the U.S.
Government. But besides that,
“husiness as usual” is the shopping
center tenants’ catch-phrase.
I.ast Thursday morning, federal
marshals from the state’s ea.stem
district converged on Resort Plaza,
located on U.S. 17 South, to seize the
$1.5 million shopping center in con
nection with a federal civil suit
against the complex’s fonner ownc-r,
indicted drug suspect Alvin Bryan
“Al” Willis III of Shallotte.
According to Assistant U.S. ,\t-
torney Doug McCullough in Raleigh,
the two-year-old shopping center was
one of the largest commercial pro
perties ever seized by the govern
ment in Eastern North C.aroliiia
McCullough said Resort Plaza was
taken into custody by the govern
ment because it allegedly was used
for illegal drug trafficking by Willis.
“We have filed a civil suit in which
seizure of the shopping center is
authorized when it’s used to facilitate
the committing of felonious viola
tions of the Controlled Substances
Act.” McCullough said, referring to
his office’s federal civil suit filed
McCullough said Willis allegedly
used the property to store controlled
substances, hold drug transactions
and make telephone calls related to
drug trafficking. .
Willis, 32, was indicted June 11 by a
special Brunswick County in
vestigative grand jury on 12 counts
each of cocaine trafficking and con
spiracy to traffic. He was released on
a $25,000 bond and is currently
Willis was one of 32 persons in
dicted by the special grand jury. He
faces up to 420 years in jail on the
According to 13th District Attorney
Mike Easley, the businesses located
in Resort Plaza are not implicated in
"None of the shop-owners or their
businesses are under any investiga
tion at all,” Easley said.
And even though last Thursday’s
seizure was a surprise to shop-
owners, they handled the situation
well, according to agents involved in
"They have nothing to do with it
Sunset Taxpayers To Fight Dune Parking
SIAfF photo by PAMN APA'AS
PRESIDENT MA.SON BARBER ad
dresses about 120 members of the
Sunset Beach Taxpayers’ Associa
tion at its annual meeting held
Saturday morning at Sunset Beach
Volunteer Fire Department.
BY ILUIN ADAMS
"We want the public to come to the
beach; we just don’t want to disrupt
the entire environment to make park
ing when there are other alter
riiat was what Sunset Beach Tax
payers’ A.ssociation President Mason
Barber .said .Saturday after associa
tion members unanimously approved
a motion to oppo.se a plan to convert
dunes on the beach's tar west end in
to a parking lot.
During the meeting, members
were encouraged to participate in a
letter-writing campaign to let the
state know they oppose the plan.
.Most of the discussion during
.Saturday morning's I'-z-hour la.x-
payers’ association meeting dealt
with a proposed regional beach ac
cess at Sunset Beach.
Around 120 of the association’s 509
members attended the annual ses
sion at Sunset Beach Volunteer Fire
Department despite heavy rains that
Prior to the group’s vote. Barber
brought the group up to date on plans
by the state and town to build a 100- to
4o0-car pai king lot with restroom zind
.shower facilities on the west end of
Barber, who is unopposed in his bid
for election as town mayor, .said he
recently received word from the
governor’s office in Raleigh that no
decision had been made concerning
appropriation of funds for the
estimated $600,000 project.
“As it stands right now on the
beach access programs,” Barber
told h'lembers, “they (the state) have
not approved anything . . . except
the beach access studies.”
According to town councilperson
and association member Minnie
Hunt, Sunset Beach has received two
grants to fund a comprehensive
study on lieach acce.ss. The .study has
not yet been done, Mrs. Hunt .said.
She .said that earlier this year the
town authorized a drawing by a loc;il
land.scape architect of a proposed ac-
cc.ss area for town property on the
we.st end of the beach.
The drawing was iLsed as part of
the town’s grant application;
however, the town did not endorse
the plan suggested by the drawing,
that of a 400-car piirking area in what
are .now dunes, she .said.
Members were especially concern
ed .Saturday aliout the size of the pro
posed parking area and its impact on
Association member Warren
"Bud” Knajip pointed out that the
proposed beach access jiroject
.should l>e called "dune parking"
not simply beach access,
underscore the fact that dunes would
have to Ix" destroyed to construct the
Knapp made the motuin that of-
(.See St .NSE f, Page '2-A |
(the investigation) whatsoever,”
said U.S. Marshal Dennis Kudro,
“and we got a cooperative reaction.
We found the tenants in the complex
very nice, very understanding and
very pleasant to deal with.”
According to Brunswick County
Sheriff John Carr Davis, officers
from his department accompanied
the plain-clothed marshals as they
notified shop-owners that the shopp
ing center had been seized by the
“We just went with them to show
that they were law enforcement of
ficers,” Davis said, adding that no
problems arose during the seizure.
Beginning around 10:30 a.m. last
Thursday, marshals went from store
to store, handing out legal documents
explaining their .action. Marshals
were still on the scene that day as
late as 4 p.m.
Included among the documents
given shop-owTiers was a copy of a
general warranty deed, showing that
Willis had turned Resort Plaza over
to his mother, Elizabeth L. Willis of
Shallotte, in January, almost six
month? prior to his indictment.
But according to Easley, the pro
perty could still be seized since it
allegedly was used to facUitate drug
Sheriff Davis said officers earlier
this year seized a boat belonging to
Willis. The boat is being stored in the
county’s impoundment yard in
Bolivia, Davis said.
“What you do is you have to gather
information over a long period of
time to make a seizure,” Easley said.
He explained that the federal civil
suit to seize Resort Plaza was drawn
from information gathered during
the criminal investigation handled by
the district attorney’s office,
Brunswick County Sheriff’s Depart
ment, State Bureau of Investigation
and Drug Enforcement Administra
Willis’ drug trafficking violations
are alleged to have occurred between
Nov. 1,1984, and May 15,1986, accor
ding to the indictment.
McCullough said he expects his of
fice’s civil suit to follow the state
criminal action pending against
And if the civil case goes against
Willis, the government expects to sell
the shopping center for at least
$500,000, he said.
“Any liens against the property
would be paid off,” McCullough said
in reference to a possible sale. "Any
profiu would go in the U.S. Marshals
forfeiture fund and eventually to the
government’s general fund.”
In the meantime, the shopping
center will be managed by a profes
sional management company, Mc
The U.S. Marshal’s Service has
contracted with Shallotte realtor
Jimmy Parker to manage the shopp
ing center while the federal suit
against Willis is in litigation. Parker
owns Real Estate Center of
“I’m just looking after it (Resort
Plaza) on an interim basis foi the
marshals office,” Parker said last
Thursday. “Everything will run as
usual. My function will be just to
oversee its operation until they get
the problem resolved."