McDougal resigns as CEO of Mecklenburg ABC Board

CEO Calvin McDougal

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on January 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 22 at 7:29 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fallout from a pricey holiday dinner continues at the Mecklenburg ABC Board today as CEO Calvin McDougal announced his resignation.

McDougal issued the following statement to the ABC Board, "There are a multitude of pressing issues demanding the time of the fine people of this Board, the state ABC Commission, and our appointing authority. I now believe my immediate resignation would be the strongest testament of my accountability to this Board and community. I therefore give notice that effective the end of this business day, I will vacate my employment as your Chief Executive."

At a meeting on Tuesday, the ABC Board voted to keep McDougal as CEO. One member called McDougal "arrogant" and "egotistical" with a "you-can't-touch-me-attitude," but she stopped short of voting to oust him.

The ABC has come under intense scrutiny since the NewsChannel 36 I-Team exposed top staff accepting expensive meals from liquor sales reps.
 
On Tuesday, McDougal denied that drinks and expensive meals paid for by liquor vendors influenced the way he did business with the vendor.

"I've never questioned my objectivity. I don't think it's been compromised," McDougal said.

On Nov. 18, 2009, I-Team cameras captured liquor sales reps wining and dining dozens of Mecklenburg ABC staff and guests at one of the most expensive restaurants in SouthPark.

Liquor reps from Diageo Americas paid the $12,700 tab.

In December, the I-Team reported that McDougal and two other ABC managers signed checks worth millions of dollars to the liquor dealer that paid for the meal -- Diageo Americas.

When asked if the meals had any role in the quantity or placement of Diageo products ordered by the Mecklenburg ABC, McDougal responded, "No sir. The products drive themselves."

Last week, board chairman Parks Helms resigned under pressure after defending the meal as business as usual.

On Tuesday, the board went behind closed doors to consider disciplining staff.  After about an hour the board emerged to say no one would lose their jobs and no one would even be suspended.

On Friday, acting ABC Board Chairman Elton Shoemaker responded to McDougal's resignation, saying, "We appreciate Mr. McDougal’s service. He is an effective leader who assembled a team of professionals to run the largest and one of the most efficient Boards in the state. His leadership produced record revenue returned to our community."

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