Troxler Remains Silent on Butterball Tip-Off
Progress NC Files Public Records Request Seeking Answers When Ag Commissioner Eludes Serious Questions
RALEIGH — Progress North Carolina today called on Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to answer serious questions about his agency’s apparent obstruction of justice in the criminal investigation of a Butterball turkey farm in Hoke County.
“More than a week has gone by since news broke of the Butterball tip-off and yet Steve Troxler remains silent,” said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina. “A high-ranking employee inside the NC Dept. of Ag admits to committing what amounts to an obstruction of justice. But she remains on the job, while Commissioner Troxler has not surfaced to explain anything.”
Because the Ag Commissioner has been so elusive on such a serious issue as a sabotaged criminal probe, Progress NC today also filed an official state Public Records Request for email and phone records of Department officials, including Mr. Troxler.
“By not speaking up, Commissioner Troxler only raises more questions about the incident and the culture inside his agency. North Carolinians deserve government officials who protect the public interest, do not cater to corporate interests, and who quickly explain mistakes clearly and in a transparent manner.”
Hoke County sheriff deputies raided a Butterball turkey farm on Dec. 29 after they were provided under-cover video of apparent animal abuse. According to the Hoke County DA, Butterball officials were tipped off about the investigation by a Dept. of Agriculture official six days before the raid. The tip-off came only hours after Hoke County authorities contacted the Dept. of Agriculture in preparation for the raid.
The Department official in question, Dr. Sarah Mason, has admitted she tipped-off Butterball. Commissioner Troxler and the Dep. of Agriculture have not taken any disciplinary action or released more information about the incident.