A researcher working with UNC-TV reporter Eszter Vajda, who is investigating Alcoa’s dam licensing and associated environmental issues in North Carolina, asked for and received money from anti-Alcoa forces to continue assisting her, the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., is reporting. Former House Speaker Richard Morgan, who works for the N.C. Water Rights Committee, gave $3,000 to Vajda’s longtime friend Martin Sansone. Vajda had told Current in an interview in July that in the midst of her reporting, Sansone flew in for a visit, “and he’s still here because the project is so big and he’s been an integral part of the research.” But according to the newspaper, Vajda and Sansone, a citizen of Great Britain, solicited the money for his travel and living expenses during a meeting with Morgan and several others connected to the water rights committee.
The station and Vajda have come under fire over the past few months from local news organizations and national freedom of the press experts for turning over reams of reporting documents and unaired footage on the story to an investigative committee of the General Assembly. Original Current story here, subsequent updates here.