By | January 20, 2020

Mike Hager is attempting to get back into politics after his disgraceful ousting from the House of Representatives by the GOP. When RCCatalyst called him for a comment after learning of his planned departure from the legislature in 2016, Hager’s reaction to other media requests was surprise. His own GOP party seemingly had announced his resignation before Mike even knew of “His” decision.

Contributed photo Brandon Gosey (right) has been named to the Board of Directos of the Capital Facilities & Finance Agency for North Carolina. Disgraced former Majority Leader Mike Hager (left)

Now after being controversially appointed to the Rutherford County school board by the dysfunctional local GOP leadership, Hager joins his friend Brandon Gosey and new-to-politics Brandi Nanney to form a majority block vote on the Board. Hager, whose lobbyist firm at that time had as its only client a charter school, however, could have conflicts of interest:

  • Now that seat is up for election. So the former lawmaker, failed Highlands of Lake Lure real estate developer, self-admitted liar in POA lawsuit, fracking supporter and party to his former employer Duke Enegy coal ash storage at Cliffside is running for the Board of Education. Hager has a construction company lobbyist client while the Board of Education is currently negotiating the building of a new school.
  • Hager’s other client, Partners, was shared with him by Former Senator Debbie Clary and they promoted the county change of health care providers.
  • Neither Rutherford County, Forest City, nor Rutherfordton took up Hager’s offer to lobby free for them.
  • The GOP evidently ignored its own bylaws on Hager’s infraction of supporting another candidate over the “approved GOP candidate” as recorded in a phone conversation linked below.
  • Hager has no educational experience, pushed for partisan School Board Elections, and redirected the School Board’s seats on Isothermal Community College’s Board to the county commissioners. The commissioners recently appointed former local GOP leader Ron Chapman to an ICC board seat.


The Highlands of Lake Lure has been reported for substandard roads, sued for Hager’s flawed construction of a million dollar home, and deceptive marketing for Hager’s promised amenities. Local banks have foreclosed on some of the developer’s property including the road/driveway to Hager’s own Green Hill home on Walking Horse Trail.



NC Lawmakers Push Partisan School Board Elections

  MAY 13, 2015

Most of North Carolina’s local school boards are elected without any party labels attached to candidate’s names. But state lawmakers are now considering bills that would make elections for five school boards partisan. It’s something of a trend.

Barry Gold first heard about a move to make elections for the Rutherford County School Board partisan from someone in Raleigh.

“I think that the first reaction I had was just puzzlement,” says Gold.

After all, he’s the chairman of the school board and had never heard anyone raise this concern.

“The folks that I talked to in Rutherford County said, ‘We don’t want it to be partisan. We just want you to focus on children.  We want you to focus on education.  We want you to focus on the policy and getting good administrators in place and not dealing with political issues.'”

There are seventeen school boards in North Carolina that have partisan elections. That number could increase to 22 if the Senate approves three bills already passed by the House.  Those measures call for partisan elections in Rutherford, Cherokee, Clay, Stanly, and Rockingham counties.

“We have seen more bills in recent years to make school board election partisan and we do not get involved in those bills,” says Leanne Winner with the North Carolina School Boards Association.

The group did take a stand against a couple of bills that called for partisan school board elections in all of the state’s school districts. Those measures appear dead for now. All of these bills this year have been pushed by Republicans.

Representative Bert Jones sponsored Rockingham County’s bill. He said in a statement partisan labels on the ballot give voters more information about the candidates, especially in races like school board that are often packed. That change would make it harder for the board’s unaffiliated members to run.  They’d have to join a party to have automatic ballot access or collect a required number of signatures.

As for Rutherford County, Representative Mike Hager said partisan elections help to increase public attention on education. He asked who wouldn’t want that.

For one, the county’s own Republican-led school board that passed a resolution against the bill.


Debbie Clary,former Senator with loan issues, Mike Hager sued for deceptive practices by Highlands of Lake Lure Property Owners Association, and former RC Commissioner, Julius Owens who approved sale of his property near the airport for $300,000 in order for the county to trim his tree that impeded the glide path to the airport runway.

Majority Leader Mike Hager to resign seat in NC House – | WBTV … (WBTV) -. North Carolina House Majority Leader Mike Hager (R-Rutherford) will resign his seat in the general assembly on Tuesday. Hager confirmed his departure Saturday morning after WBTV obtained a memo from the North Carolina Republican Party that said he had already resigned. He’s lobbying for basically the same build-solar-schools-with-government-money bill that he supposedly fought last session. It’s a new year. New bill number. Same monkey business.

The property owners association (poa) has filed suit against the now defunct Highlands of Lake Lure LLC (originally with Mike Hager & David Odom), Mike Hager, individually et al. At issue are the heavily marketed amenities such as the clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and hiking trails in the 230 acre gated community that were never built. The jury trial was moved to November 13, 2012.

Hager is also accused of violations of his fiduciary responsibilities as developer and manager by not informing the property owners of this decision. At issue as well are the assessments collected by Hager. Hager pleaded guilty in discovery to misrepresentation to several complaints including misrepresentation of marketing of the amenities that were not built.

At the last minute the case was settled out of cout for an undisclosed payment.…/article_fabf5d55-e4cb-5bd3-92e9-64f33996b4be.html –

While he did not release any of his income tax information, Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, did discuss where he makes his money.

The Daily Courier requested income tax information from all candidate and incumbents running for North Carolina House and Senate in the region. Both Hager and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Spruce Pine declined to provide the information. Hise is running for his second term in the Senate and is unopposed. Hager’s opponent, Democrat Lisa Harris Bralley, provided income tax information (see related story).…

Debbie Clary,former Senator with loan issues, Mike Hager sued for deceptive practices by Highlands of Lake Lure Property Owners Association, and former RC Commissioner, Julius Owens who approved sale of his property near the airport for $300,000 in order for the county to trim his tree that impeded the glide path to the airport runway.

An indictment is expected for Rutherford County’s prize Republican, Mike Hager, for the mess he made at Highlands of Lake Lure. Hager is already broiling in litigation filed by Hager’s angry purchasers.

Meanwhile, the attorneys and their favorite judges are scrambling to postpone trials of these men of vice to dates after the election in hopes that political brokers will come to their rescue.

Jul 10, 2017 – Hager, a Rutherford County Republican who served as House majority leader before resigning his seat last August, opened his lobbying firm, Hager Strategic Solutions, in February, after the six-month cooling-off period required by state law. On Sunday, Hager posted on Facebook a flier for a private …
RALEIGH, NC 27605 Operating Expense DONATION 1 Check $2,500.00 $2,500.00
RALEIGH, NC 27603 Operating Expense NC CIVIL PENALTY AND FORFIETURE 1 Check $100.00 $100.00
06/01/2015 JULIUS OWENS
SPINDALE, NC 28160 Operating Expense CONSTITUENT OFFICE 1 Check $800.00 $1,400.00
06/19/2015 JULIUS OWENS
SPINDALE, NC 28160 Operating Expense SIGN PU & STORAGE 1 Check $600.00 $1,400.00
The Spindale St address is the site of a former mill now used for a mulching business affiliated with Owens.

Fracking wells closed, pipelines opposed: A tough week for natural gas

PW exclusive: Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase

Hager proposes “free” lobbyist contract with Rutherfordton

Emails reveal dealings between county officials and behavioral health agency lobbyists

Partners Behavioral Health ignores questions about use of lobbyists

Editorial: Lobbyist, local GoP, and school board member attack building schools


Google’s 2017 “Internet State Policy Conference” in California, Oct. 17-20, 2017
Google reports spending $2,913.73 over three days on Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, chairman of House information technology appropriations committee and vice chair of full House appropriations committee. Spending included:

a. $1,389.93 on American Airlines flight, Oct. 17
b. $1,027.32 on a three-night stay in Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., at a rate of $342.44 per night, Oct. 17-19
c. $176.75 on dinner at Left Bank restaurant, a French brasserie in San Jose, Calif., Oct. 18
d. $71.99 on food and beverage provided by Google in Mountain View, Calif.


rce: Google expense report, filed Jan. 19, 2018 with Secretary of State’s office

Google hosted Saine previously in October 2015, as well as ex-state Rep. Mike Hager, a Rutherford County Republican and former House majority leader who left office in 2016 before establishing a lobbying company.

During that conference, Google reported spending nearly $4,000 on the two lawmakers, mostly on flights and hotel rooms at an Aloft hotel in Silicon Valley. The company also bought $70 meals at a Palo Alto pizzeria for the legislators.

Apple, meanwhile, paid out more than $2,400 over two days in 2015 during a gathering at Apple headquarters with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, and ex-state Sen. Dan Soucek, a Republican from western North Carolina.

Reports show Google also paid small tabs for legislators of both parties as the company ramped up its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service in North Carolina.

Ethics advocates like Pinsky and Phillips say lobbyist-sponsored meetings were more common a decade ago, when companies regularly courted powerful North Carolina politicians with lavish meals, drinks and hotel rooms. The gatherings were largely unregulated, they say, and General Assembly leadership sought reforms that would limit companies’ questionable largesse.

“The whole reason for the ethics law was to stop the ‘wining and dining,’ to stop big money sort of gaming the decisions,” said Phillips, who says last year’s meetings with Google and Apple are reminiscent of those times.

[Disclosure: N.C. Justice Center Executive Director Rick Glazier, a former state lawmaker from Cumberland County, played a key role in crafting those laws. The Justice Center is Policy Watch’s parent nonprofit.]