North Carolina agencies pay millions with scant transparency

March 11, 2019 - 3:46 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Government officials in North Carolina are shelling out millions of insurance and taxpayer dollars to quell risks of lawsuits, whether by an employee alleging discrimination or a driver hit by a local school bus.

A collaborative investigation released Monday by nine newsrooms across the state has found little uniformity in how these settlement agreements are tracked and shared with the public. The project was timed to coincide with Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of open government and the public's right to know.

Despite sometimes large price tags, these agreements aim to save money by protecting public agencies from prolonged court battles or expensive judgments.

The media coalition's review found some agreements contain confidentiality provisions that may run contrary to state law. Some agreements also impose gag orders on plaintiffs.

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