James Holmes, Jr., was first elected to the BOG by the House in 2013 and is the registered agent and managing partner of Sentinel Risk Advisors. Sentinel Risk’s current and former employees include two powerful NC House Republicans: Rep. David Lewis and Rep. John Bell. Lewis chairs two powerful committees and wields a great degree of influence over the budget and Bell is House Majority Leader. Holmes was chairman of the BOG’s public affairs committee and represented the BOG at the legislature in 2015 during budget negotiations. He has several connections to Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly and has donated at least $102,393 to Republicans including Tim Moore, Phil Berger, Nelson Dollar as well as David Lewis and John Bell. Sentinel Risk Advisors has not donated to a North Carolina candidate and does not have any registered lobbyists in the state of North Carolina. However, Lewis, Holmes’ former employee, had the opportunity to vote on Holmes’ re-election to the UNC BOG.
According to their website, Sentinel Risk Advisors’ core business is “risk mitigation and insurance services,” though their website does not provide much detail about what this entails. On their blog they shared a presentation called “#NotYouToo — Safeguarding Your Business and Employees from Sexual Harassment.”
Holmes chaired the committee on the UNC BOG that recommended cutting three UNC System centers, including the poverty center at UNC-Chapel Hill, a move that was called “politically motivated.” Holmes called the decision “fair, objective, [and] honest,” even though he admitted that closing the center would not result in significant savings. In 2015 Holmes stepped down as the chairman of the public affairs committee after being accused of meddling in the search for a new president. He is also on the board of advisors for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.