By Rob Schofield, NC Policy Watch
The news surrounding Greg Lindberg – the businessman who donated millions of dollars to North Carolina politicians (including, most notably, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest) and who is accused by federal prosecutors of attempting to bribe state insurance regulators – just keeps getting more disturbing.
Today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Lindberg “paid for dozens of surveillance operatives to tail…women up to 24 hours a day, taking surreptitious photos and sometimes putting GPS trackers on their vehicles, according to former security staffers and copies of internal reports produced by these operatives….”
In great detail, the Journal story (“‘Active Interest’: Insurance Tycoon Spied on Women Who Caught His Eye: Dozens of surveillance operatives working for Greg Lindberg tailed actual and prospective romantic partners, assembling dossiers along the way”) explains how the Durham resident paid for women he was dating or interested in to be spied upon across the country.
According to the story, in addition to spying on women so that he would be better informed about current and prospective romantic partners, Lindberg even paid people to help him make sure he would not run into women who may have happened to reside near other women he was pursuing:
One of Mr. Lindberg’s concerns was that his “interests” would accidentally meet or he would run into one while out with another, former staffers said.
The dossier on SC included an “Interest Deconfliction” page: It identified by initials three other women who were “active interests in SC’s” area, and mapped out Manhattan addresses for two of them.
Mr. Lindberg’s pursuit of such partners began after his 2017 separation from his ex-wife, Tisha, with whom he has three children, former staffers said. Mr. Lindberg began dating women in several cities, they said, and lived for a time in Florida aboard the 214-foot yacht, Double Down….
Field staff assigned to each woman would send frequent updates to headquarters employees back in Durham, who provided Mr. Lindberg a curated feed, former staffers said. The surveillance operation was known internally as “Asset Accountability,” according to internal documents and former staffers.
The latest revelations about Lindberg come in the wake of yesterday’s “guilty” plea by former state Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes in the bribery scheme for which Lindberg has also been indicted. As WFAE radio reported:
Hayes, who was also a Congressman a decade ago, was allegedly part of a scheme with Durham businessman Greg Lindberg to illegally give campaign contributions to State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey….
Lindberg wanted Causey to replace a senior deputy whom Lindberg said was unfairly regulating his firm, Global Bankers Insurance Group, according to the indictment against Hayes, Lindberg and two others.
To do this, Lindberg and Hayes allegedly worked to funnel $2 million – some of it through the state Republican Party — to Causey’s campaign.
But while the men spoke secretly in 2018, Causey had already alerted the FBI – and was wearing a wire.
Hayes has apparently agreed to cooperate with prosecutors – a fact that could serve to minimize his potential punishment and, presumably, bode ill for Lindberg and other alleged conspirators.
Lt. Gov. Forest, who is by far the single largest beneficiary of Lindberg contributions, has thus far declined to return (or urge the return) of the approximately $2.4 million that Lindberg bestowed on two groups that are supporting Forest in his 2020 run for governor. Forest has not, however, been accused of any crime.
Rob Schofield, Director of NC Policy Watch, has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator. At Policy Watch, Rob writes and edits daily online commentaries and handles numerous public speaking and electronic media appearances. He also delivers a radio commentary that’s broadcast weekdays on WRAL-FM and WCHL and hosts News and Views, a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.