The News and Observer of Raleigh reports that a company owned by the son of former House Speaker Jim Black won pest control contracts at the state's newest prisons despite bids that came in lower than his.
The newspaper says Black Pest Control was paid $124,000 for prison construction projects in Bertie and Greene counties, although a Virginia business bid $42,000 on the same work.
Black Pest Control also won a job in 2005 for $73,600, even though a Brunswick County company was willing to do it for $20,600.
A project manager for a subcontractor of the company that oversaw the construction says two company officials told him Jon Black's firm had to be hired to satisfy a state lawmaker whose vote was crucial to the company getting the prison construction business.
One of the two officials says he doesn't recall such a conversation.
Jon Black has declined comment. Jim Black's attorney says his client doesn't know anything about the contracts.