NC Rural Agency Makes Questionable Job Claims

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center has approved questionable loans while making job creation claims that aren't supported by facts, according to a newspaper's investigation.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday ( ) that the private nonprofit organization used millions in taxpayer money to help build fast-food restaurants, golf resorts and big-box retailers including Walmart.

The economic development projects led to claims of jobs being created, though the newspaper found several cases where there were no new jobs or far fewer than reported.

Meanwhile, the Rural Center has built up more than $69 million that has gone unspent because of delayed projects or from busted deals.

Director Billy Ray Hall insists the center is a good steward of tax dollars, even if every idea it tries doesn't work out.