MORRISVILLE -- The owner of a company that sells devices to thwart drunken drivers says former Sen. Tony Rand tried to use political muscle to buy the business in 2004 for Law Enforcement Associates, a firm whose stockholders included Rand and several other high-ranking North Carolina politicians.
Rand, then the Senate majority leader, also served as co-chairman of the Governor's Highway Safety Program at the time. The Fayetteville Democrat was in a strong position to draft legislation governing the use of ignition interlocks and directly influence who got the lucrative state contract to sell the devices, which detect alcohol on a driver's breath and prevent the car from starting.
"He wanted my company," said Larry "Jerry" Mobley, the founder and sole owner of Monitech, based in Morrisville. "He's the guy in charge of writing the laws that deal with drunk driving. You couldn't ask for a clearer conflict of interest, and yet he assumed I'd be cool with that because we could make money."
Rand said last week that he has no memory of meeting with Mobley or making an offer to buy Monitech.