In 2000, Democrat Mike Easley beat Republican Richard Vinroot in a rough and tumble gubernatorial campaign. They've rarely spoken or even seen each other in the years since.
But now Easley's son, Michael Jr., is working with his father's erstwhile rival at Vinroot's Charlotte law firm. The younger Easley, a law student at the University of North Carolina, is one of a handful of summer clerks at Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson.
He and Vinroot have hit it off, going to lunch at places such as the Diamond. Vinroot and his wife Judy have even talked about inviting Easley and other clerks to their home for dinner.
"He's a nice young man and his parents are nice people," Vinroot says. "I just happen to have a different political philosophy and we happened to bump into each other running for governor. He won and I lost."
Vinroot didn't want to comment on the Easleys' legal troubles. A federal grand jury in Raleigh is looking into free air trips the former governor took. Prosecutors have also interviewed the Fayetteville car dealer who loaned a 2000 GMC Yukon that was driven by Michael Jr.