By Associated Press - Thursday, November 20, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina agency wants more information from a company co-owned by Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband about a federal stimulus grant it received and became an issue in Hagan’s unsuccessful re-election bid.

A State Energy Program official emailed John Hagan this week asking he respond to questions by Dec. 12 about the $251,000 stimulus benefit for JDC Manufacturing in 2011. John Hagan is the senator’s brother-in-law.

The questions, sent Wednesday and first reported on by the News & Record of Greensboro, show state officials are interested in the relationship between JDC Manufacturing and other companies involved in the solar, lighting and heating work that qualified for funds. They also want to know about the role of Tilden Hagan, the son of Kay Hagan and her husband Chip. Three Hagan brothers co-own JDC.

The questions refer to federal rules against self-dealing and conflict of interest.

John Hagan and Tilden Hagan didn’t respond Thursday to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment on the questions. Neither did a spokeswoman for JDC Manufacturing.

The competitive grant originated from the $787 billion within the federal stimulus law. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, voted for the law in 2009. The grants, however, were managed by the state.

The senator and her campaign said she had no involvement whatsoever with the award to JDC. State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope filed a complaint with the Senate ethics panel over her vote and the grant, and state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who defeated Hagan two weeks ago, said it was inappropriate for Hagan’s family members to benefit from the legislation. The issue showed up in anti-Hagan television ads during the campaign.

Documents provided last month by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which now includes the energy program, showed nothing out of the ordinary in the grant-awarding process for JDC, based in Reidsville. Now the program is looking at how money was actually spent.

The energy efficiency project was performed on a warehouse owned by JDC. The company also received tax credits and another grant that brought its total benefit to $390,000.

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