- Associated Press - Monday, August 14, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the appointment of former Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand to the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper removed a member of the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission accused of making “sexually harassing” and “racially insensitive” comments.

In a letter last Wednesday, Cooper’s top attorney told Commissioner Kim Griffin Jr. of Durham he was being removed for making remarks that “created a hostile work environment.” Cooper announced two days later that former state Sen. Tony Rand would fill the remainder of Griffin’s term.

Griffin said in a phone interview Monday the allegations against him are false. He blamed Democrats and other lottery board members for trying to push him out. Former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Griffin as lottery board chairman in late 2015. Cooper named his own chairman early this year, but Griffin remained on the board.

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10:45 a.m.

A once-powerful Democratic leader in the North Carolina General Assembly is returning to state government, this time as a lottery commission member.

Gov. Roy Cooper appointed former Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand of Fayetteville to the commission, replacing Kim Griffin. He’ll fill a term that ends next August.

Rand served in the Senate for all or parts of 12 terms before his 2009 resignation. As majority leader and Senate Rules Committee chairman, Rand was the top lieutenant to longtime Senate leader Marc Basnight and played a big role getting laws passed in 2005 to begin the lottery. Rand left the Senate to become chairman of the state parole board.

The 77-year-old Rand will participate in his first meeting next month.

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