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Phelps: Aide's charge reflects on Steinburg

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State Rep. Bob Steinburg

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A grand jury’s indictment of state Rep. Bob Steinburg’s legislative assistant casts a cloud over his office, Steinburg’s Democratic opponent in Senate District 1 claimed on Friday.

“This indictment is very troubling and raises a number of serious questions about Rep. Bob Steinburg and his office,” Cole Phelps wrote in an email. “The people of northeastern North Carolina deserve better from their elected officials.”

Phelps, an attorney and Washington County commissioner, was referring to the indictment this week of Diana London, Steinburg’s legislative assistant and campaign consultant.

District Attorney Andrew Womble’s office confirmed Thursday that a Dare County grand jury indicted London this week on a charge of embezzlement connected to her work for an Outer Banks restaurant last year. 

The indictment alleges that London, 31, embezzled $2,511 from Pigman’s Bar-B-Que in Kill Devil Hills sometime between Feb. 1, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2017.

Womble said Thursday that London’s offense predated her work for Steinburg and the case did not involve the lawmaker.

Steinburg called Phelps’ statement “absolutely irresponsible” in a phone interview Friday.

“If he’s an attorney, he should know better,” Steinburg said.

Steinburg said Phelps’ statement shows irresponsibility and immaturity because it makes an accusation about a pending case where all the facts aren’t clear.

Steinburg said London continues to work for him, declining further comment. The charge against London will be resolved by the courts, he added.

“This is a professional contract dispute between Diana and a former client before she came to work as my legislative assistant,” he said in a followup statement, noting later London started working for him this February. “In the meantime, she will continue her excellent work in my office. Any other questions should be answered by the parties in the dispute.”

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