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Investigation Into State Employees Takes Unusual Turn

A state investigation over alleged misuse of state vehicles has taken a strange turn. The state auditor says two top officials with the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement used their state cars for personal purposes. Now, their attorneys are demanding the state auditor's office remove the report from its website.

The state auditor's report accuses ALE director John Ledford and his deputy director of using their state owned vehicles to drive from Raleigh to their homes in Asheville on weekends - 500 miles roundtrip. That report, which was posted last month says auditors had a difficult a time getting any information from the division that oversees the ALE. It's posted online along with a video of state auditor Beth Wood summarizing the problems.

The problem said Ledford's attorney Stephen Lindsay is that it's all public. So he's sent a cease and desist letter to remove the report from the website and stop sharing it publicly. Lindsay says because it recommends disciplining Ledford and his deputy, the report shouldn't be public information. Instead he says it should be handled privately by Ledford's boss.

"It does seem to me that these individuals have been targeted in a way that I think is unusual if not unheard of," Lindsay says.

"All of our reports are public information," Wood says. She also says anytime her office carries out an audit or investigative report like this one it's standard procedure to post the information publicly.

Wood was on her way to discuss the investigation with lawmakers when she was handed the cease and desist letter. She went ahead and shared the report with lawmakers anyway and says she won't be removing the report or the video from the website.