Petraeus and other scandals find a home in Charlotte, NC

Nobody has noticed, but Charlotte, NC has been embroiled in three major scandals in the past quarter of a century that have brought down some major personalities. Photo: Jim Bakker, John Edwards, Paul Broadwell

CHARLOTTENovember 13, 2012 – Hoping to catch a glimpse of Paula Broadwwell, the woman in the Petraeus affirad, the media crowd the sidewalks on a normally secluded tree-lined street in the historic Dilworth district in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Their cameras and satellite trucks on alert for any sighting, no matter how slight and like hovering vultures circling over fresh carrion, they patiently bide their time hoping for some  newsworthy tidbit to satisfy their hunger.

On a typical day, Paula Broadwell takes a morning jog along leaf covered sidewalks past the Presbyterian church just down the street and around the block. Not any more.

At least not for several days since the news of her affair with CIA Director General David Petraeus became an international scandal.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Monday night the FBI began an extensive consensual search of Broadwell’s two-story home that lasted more than four hours. For a few brief hours broadcasters had the breaking news they wanted, but by early Tuesday morning they were back to waiting-as-usual, and Broadwell was nowhere to be seen.

The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story is filled with international intrigue, questions of governmental cover-ups and global terrorism all wrapped up in suspicious post-election timing and the added allure of a sexcapade at the highest levels of government.

While journalists ponder whether this is merely a story about a personal relationship between two people, or if it had something to do with the terrorists attacks in Benghazi or if it is part of a cover-up to protect Barack Obama’s involvement in Libya and his efforts to get re-elected, the picture becomes increasingly distorted. It’s as though a Monet painting is morphing into a Picasso before our very eyes.

But here’s a question nobody has asked, “What’s going on in Charlotte, NC?” Has North Carolina’s largest city suddenly become a global center for the downfall of prominent American men?

It was almost exactly five years ago when The National Enquirer broke the story of an alleged adulterous affair between Senator John Edwards and former campaign worker Rielle Hunter.

Within nine months, further reports claimed that Edwards had fathered a child with Hunter.

Edwards denied the allegations until January, 2010 when he finally admitted his tryst. Ironically, Hunter lived in Charlotte, less than two miles from Paula Broadwell’s present home in Dilworth.

Hit the reverse button to 1987 when The Charlotte Observer completed a relentless pursuit of Jim Bakker, a televangelist who went to prison for selling fraudulent “lifetime memberships” to his PTL (Praist the Lord) faithful.

Bakker siphoned several million dollars for himself, and in the process, paid off staff secretary, Jessica Hahn $279,000 for her silence. Bakker was later accused of meeting Hahn and raping her in a hotel in Clearwater, Florida. Bakker denied the rape, but he eventually resigned and served nearly five years in prison.

On a personal note, I happened to be in Turkey at the time Bakker was arrested. Reports in local newspapers in Istanbul were speculating about the possibility of Turkey and Greece going to war over some obscure political development between the two countries.

When I turned on my television at seven in the morning to catch up on the news, there was nothing about the pending Turkey/Greece war, but there was, halfway around the world, pictures of a handcuffed, leg-chained Jim Bakker being placed in a police car.

Perhaps Charlotte has been a closet real-life Peyton Place that nobody knew about. Three major domestic and international scandals in a span of 25 years in a medium sized Southern city that many people never heard of until the democratic party arrived with its convention in September. 

The events of Benghazi and the attacks on the consulate may seem a world away, but suddenly, without warning, they are on our doorstep.

All of which goes to highlight how small, complex and intertwined the world has become. In a matter of hours a sleepy, an obscure dot on a map can rapidly become embroiled in a major international media controversy.

Charlotte has never been a city known for preserving its history. In the past quarter century however, it has made more than its share of news.  

______________________

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com 

 Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. 

 Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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