Former N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger’s missing e-mails cover a six-month period during which former North Carolina first lady Mary Easley’s controversial job was created at the university.

The university’s technical staff was able to recover some, but not all, of the missing e-mail messages, both sent to and from the chancellor’s account.

This disclosure was made as part of an ongoing federal investigation of former governor Mike Easley. In addition to the creation of Mary Easley’s job, the probe is also concerned with real estate deals and transportation perks — including free use of luxury cars and private planes.

Originally the chancellor claimed he was not involved in creating Mrs. Easley’s position at N.C. State, allowing the school’s provost, Larry Nielsen, to shoulder the blame entirely. As the story unraveled — and after numerous resignations from the university — it’s become clear that Oblinger and others were, in fact, intimately involved.

Mary Easley was hired in 2005 as the school’s “executive in residence” where she was charged with creating a speaker series. Her starting pay was $90,000. Last year she received a 88 percent pay raise. This year she was fired.

Read more about the latest in this ongoing saga from And, check out The News and Observer’s in-depth look at the Easleys in their series “Executive Privilege.”

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