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Bribery in NC

Bribery in NC


Bribery of a North Carolina Election Director

What Happened:
  • Conviction and Prison time for that Official - Bill Culp. 
  • Guilty Plea to Bribery charges for the Microvote Salesman - Ed O'Day.
  • Salesman still selling voting machines today, and is Vice President of United American Election Supply.
  • Insufficient Laws, North Carolina laws do not prohibit Ed O'Day from selling voting machines to the counties in NC, just from selling directly to the State of NC for a 10 year period.
  • Defective Machines - 400 of the Microvote DREs sold to Mecklenberg County were already known to be defective, were the source of a lawsuit between Microvote and the state of Pennsylvania.  Pennsyvania refused to buy the machines, or at least not all that Microvote tried to sell them, and Microvote sued. Microvote lost the suit.  The machines malfunctioned after North Carolina bought them (some were sold to Indiana too). But since our election director was taking bribes, he couldn't say much.
Meet Ed O'Day, Voting Machine Salesman Extraordinaire:
He bribed a North Carolina County Election Director, entered a guilty
pleas for bribes in 1998, and in 2004 he is sponsoring a hospitality room for Georgia State
Election Officials!
That should be of great concern to voting activists.
Wouldn't a clean criminal background be important for Executives that influence
State Election Officials?
1. This all came to a head in 1998:
A voting machine salesman and repairman admitted earlier this week that
they gave Culp more than $134,000 since 1990 in bribes and kickbacks as
rewards for county business. Ed O'Day, 63, of Columbia, S.C., and Gene
Barnes, 64, of Stuarts Draft, Va., entered guilty pleas Tuesday.
They and Culp will be sentenced later this summer, the U.S. Attorney's
Office said.
Culp pleaded guilty to accepting 122 bribes from O'Day and Barnes and
to three counts of mail fraud stemming from his operation of the Mecklenburg
Elections Tabulation Service, which provided news organizations with
unofficial election night results. He allegedly double-billed the county and
news outlets, pocketing $21,131 between December 1994, and January 1998.
O'Day is president of United American Election Supply Co. and was also
an independent sales representative for MicroVote of Indianapolis. He sold
Mecklenburg County more than $6 million in voting machines since 1994.
Barnes, who serviced the county's voting machines for more than 30
years, raised his prices so Culp could get a kickback of $25 per machine
repaired, authorities alleged.

2. Ex-Meck official indicted (more on Culp)

Former Mecklenburg County Elections Supervisor Bill Culp was indicted by a federal grand jury July 7 on charges that he accepted more than $134,000 in kickbacks and bribes from a voting machine repairman and a salesman who won millions in county contracts. The indictment follows a six-month FBI investigation.

Federal sources say Culp and the two others charged -- Ed O'Day, president of Columbia-based United American Election Supply Co. and Gene Barnes, a self-employed repairman from Stuarts Draft, Va. -- will receive summonses and likely make their first court appearance this month. Culp retired in February as elections director after 28 years.

3. Voting machine sales a cutthroat business
Last modified at 1:41 p.m.
on Monday, March 16, 1998
The Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the voting machine business, competition is tough and lawsuits not uncommon.
Supporters of former Mecklenburg County Director Bill Culp say he's one of the victims of that cutthroat business.
Last week agents subpoenaed records involving the elections office,
Culp and vendors who sold the county voting machines and supplies.
The FBI wants all records of purchases, contracts and bids for the past five years.
It's part of a grand jury inquiry that's also seeking Culp's personnel files, travel and business records.
That includes dealings with MicroVote Corp. and its former agent Ed O'Day,
who sold the county nearly $6 million in voting machines since 1994.
MicroVote officials say they're cooperating with the FBI.
The Indianapolis company is one of a handful of leaders in the $50 million-a-year industry.
Other major players include Global Elections, ES&S, Danaher and Sequoia Pacific.
''It is a very different world ... a very cutthroat business,'' said Guilford County Elections Director George Gilbert.
''It seems like everybody has worked for everybody else in the business at one point ... and this company is always suing that company.''
Culp has declined to comment on the investigation.
Such actions are common. So are lawsuits against competitors or former employees.
Last year, MicroVote sued its former national sales manager,  Gary Greenhalgh of Vienna, Va.
MicroVote alleged he used company trade secrets to lure clients to competing businesses.
Greenhalgh, who says he's done nothing wrong, has been in the middle of other controversies.
While working for MicroVote in 1990, he testified in a criminal investigation before a Memphis, Tenn.,
grand jury against another former employer in the industry.
And he once sued a Franklin, Tenn., elections official for slander after the man called him a liar.
''It seems like the employees of these vendors switch around.
Sometimes they're bidding against each other and sometimes they're teaming up,''
said Gary Bartlett, director of the N.C. Board of Elections.
''It heightens the competitiveness, and unfortunately, the viciousness.
Probably the most distressing thing I've witnessed is the vendors and some of the rumors that they spread.''
Salespeople say they routinely take public employees out for dinners, drinks and shows while seeking government contracts.
Some bring little gifts or trinkets.
At trade conferences, elections officials often dine courtesy of people who want their business.
In Mecklenburg's case, Greenhalgh said he often picked up checks when he was out with Culp and his wife Deena.
At the time, Greenhalgh was MicroVote's national sales director, seeking the county's business.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
All Contents.©Copyright The Oak Ridger
4. The machines were defective, but Ed couldn't say much, could he?
Publicly enthusiastic, Culp privately complained about the same defects that led to the chaos in Pennsylvania. "The obvious weakness in the scrolling mechanism concerns us," he wrote to the company on May 13, 1996
The machines Ed O'Day sold to Culp were defective from the beginning, and were actually machines that
the State of Pennsylvania had tried and refused to buy after numerous serious problems with the machines.
Microvote v. Montgomery County, 942 F.Supp. 1046 (1996), 124 F.3d 187 (3d Cir. 1997).
5.  Separate article in Wish TV  - Ed O'Day is Executive of Voting Machine Company
I-Team: Tell us about Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, a federal investigation and federal indictments against the county’s election administrator and MicroVote salesman Ed O’Day. He was convicted of bribery and kickbacks made over a seven-year period, according to stories in the Charlotte Observer.
Ries Jr.: Ed O'Day was an independent agent of MicroVote – not a direct employee but a manufacturer's representative for our product in North and South Carolina. He was convicted of bribing a public official, something we had no knowledge of, nor did we have any input.
Unfortunately he's still out selling equipment to election officials, which surprised us all.
6. Ed O'Day  is still selling voting machines:
United American Election Supply Company
447 Longtown Road West
Blythewood, SC 29016
Toll Free:

Sales Contact: Ed O'Day, Vice President
Technical Contact: Ed O'Day, Vice President
Description: United American Election Supply Company, supplies products to users of all types of voting systems including voting booths for paper punch card and DRE voting systems. We market the exclusive Pollmaster I and II voting booths, ABS ballot boxes, transfer cases, and supply boxes. We also sell all punch card ballots and supplies.
Election Experience: 30 years experience in election support

7. Ed O'Day is currently Vice President of "The National Association of Government Suppliers"
8. Looks like Ed O'Day is Popular with Georgia Election Officials,
furnished Hospitality Suite for this meeting in May 2004:
19th Georgia Election Officials Association
May 16-19, 2004
Held at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government
"Hospitality Suite provided by: United American Election Supply Co.
Do Georgia Election Officials know that they are rubbing elbows with a convicted briber?

 The Bill Culp Elections Scandal and the County Commission
Charlotte Observer Articles - Titles 

  • 2000-  Democrats give Culp back his "retiree medical"
  • July 99 - Culp goes to prison for taking Bribes and kickbacks
  • April 99 - County Commission agree to sue Culp
  • March 99 - Culp Sentenced
  • Aug 98 - County  revokes Culp health insurance
  • July 98 - James proposes increased accounting controls because of Culp Scandal
  • July 98 - Culp abused his office (Carte Blanche article)
  • February 98 - Culp stops "consulting" contract with Elections office- blames James and Carter
  • January 98 - Culp retires from elections office one step ahead of the Federal Prosecutor (later this was shown to have  allowed him to keep his pension and benefits though he stole from Mecklenburg County for 10 years)
  • December 97 - Carter says Culp should be fired. Questions surface regarding illegal activity
  • April 1997 - Culp uses elections office to promote liberal Democratic candidates

Articles Archived here