Friday, June 18, 2010

Lies & Deceit from the Caster Campaign

WWAY has uncovered deceitful tactics being employed by the Bill Caster campaign. David Benford, a Caster campaign worker, crafted a letter to the editor blasting opponent Brian Berger, and echoing messages in Caster's radio ads almost verbatime. Caster and Benford crafted a plan via email to have a regular citizen to sign the letter as if they had submitted it of their own accord.

Enter Phyllis S. Smith, the lackey for their plan. She signs the letter and it gets published in the Star News. WWAY did a inquiry into the county's email system and uncovered the whole thing. When they called Benford, he said he knew nothing about it and had nothing to do with any of it. Caster denied everything as well. When WWAY divulged that they had the emails to prove their involvement, both men got real quiet, and then changed their whole story.

Watch this video and read the report on this incredible story:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wilmington City Council tries to Play God

Several heated discussions took place on Tuesday night's City Council meeting; one which we will discuss in detail here. For starters, the ridiculous proposed budget passed 5-2; which you can read about here:
and here:

Another interesting subject of discussion was that of the proliferation of internet sweepstakes gaming parlors. You would think that these places are nothing more than some horrible den of debauchery and fornication due to the way they are presented and vilified by Kevin O'Grady. The freshman councilman made numerous remarks on these establishment's profitability and how that was a reason to seriously regulate them. As if lawyers (of which is his profession) do not make serious profits as well. He would go back constantly to an argument concerning simply that of land use and zoning, but then back it up with the profitability and the preferential arguments that these places just don't match his vision of what Wilmington should look like.

The supporting documents that accompany the resolution are very evident of a government trying to step outside of its role and play God with the business sector; picking winners and losers based on their personal taste and preference.

Please see this document to see what I'm talking about:

Councilman Sparks exhibited about as much disdain for such businesses; but for different reason. They prey on the poor and weak, and only "godless heathens" would support their existence. Never mind the common sense approach that people only walk into one of these places and spend money if they so choose of their own accord, and are not coerced in any way. Never mind that the NC State Lottery could essentially be subject to the same argument - although nothing was ever mentioned of this.

The hearing and vote on the resolutions were postponed until the next City Council meeting. Whether or not you frequent these establishments, or even care about their existence is beside the point. If you care about your own liberty and prosperity, and the right you have to be safe from government interference into your personal economic decisions, this issue should scare you. We cannot allow this city government to proceed forward with their plan to order businesses to operate within a severely limited framework, and one that limits their profits. That is not economic freedom, and no government has this right. We are seeing the same thing trying to take place in Washington today, and the same arguments apply.

If councilman O'Grady has his way, he will order these business owners to come before the mighty Wilmington City Council, present their tax forms, balance sheets, and profitability figures; and he will render a decision that impacts whether or not they continue to be in business or not. These are people who play by the rules, make their investments in business, hire a workforce, and feed their families based on what they make from their business. We cannot allow government to rule tyrannically in this manner. This affects each and every one of us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Hanover ABC Board pays Attorney Rountree $102,000+

A document obtained by the New Hanover County ABC Board shows that from 2008-present, the Board compensated attorney George Rountree III a total of $102,221.72 for services rendered.

Late last year and into the beginning of this year, the former members of the county board were under heavy fire for openly disobeying state open meetings law, competitive bidding laws, and a whole host of other questionable activities due to little or no oversight by the county. During those proceedings, it was reported in the Star News that attorney Rountree was retained by the Board to represent the members, although they were never officially charged with any crime or wrongdoing whatsoever. The entire issue cleanly disappeared when the three members of the ABC Board promptly resigned just as their house of cards was beginning to topple.

However, there is absolutely no answer as to why the ABC Board has had Rountree retained permanently, and has compensated him so much over the past two years. In the State of North Carolina, ABC Boards are public boards, and by law are to operate in the view of the public, and even are supposed to be comprised of members of the public. On the surface, there appears no need or reason for a public ABC Board to retain an attorney for an extended period of time; and even their deferral to Rountree in the wake of the public scrutiny surrounding their activities remains questionable.

More to come - stay tuned.

Document revealing compensation for Rountree:
ABC Board Rountree

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Invoice from Capitol Communications to NHC Taxpayers

Remember that little poll that our county commission had done to see how well liked they were, to find out if you were a liberal or a conservative, to see their re-electability chances, and to find out if you would support paying more taxes?

Turns out, despite being in the so-called budget "crisis" that we're in, that piece of business cost you and I $13,200. See the actual invoice and check stub that paid for it below:

NHC Capitol Invoice

Why would anyone re-elect any of these clowns?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Pay to Play Chronicles: Chapter One

When the term "pay to play" comes up, certain venerable established local politicians may come to mind for some. Bill Caster, no doubt, rightfully earns a spot in this distinctive class.

The latest example, among many, is revealed in his latest campaign finance report. Caster, one of the leading proponents of buying off Airlie Gardens from the Corbett family in the late 1990's; and subsequently adding its expense to the burden of county taxpayers,  is still reaping the rewards of his efforts. From Caster's own website:
I was the Chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioner when the County purchased the Gardens in 1999. I, along with Commissioner Greer and Camilia Herievich, of the Coastal Land Trust, were committed to save Airlie Gardens from development of 47 home sites. I took the lead in the negotiations with the Corbett family and sealed the deal.
I wonder what all of terms of this so-called "deal" included? It's been more than a decade since the Corbett's received an attractive taxpayer subsidy for their land thanks to Caster, and even now, they are extending their thanks through their checkbook. On page 10 of Caster's 1st Quarter Campaign Finance Report filed with the New Hanover County Board of Elections, a contribution in the amount of $500 was made to Caster courtesy of Diane Corbett of Corbett Management Corp.

Caster 1Q Campaign Finance - Page 10

$500 may not be a whole lot of money, but if you were to go back and calculate the total amount that Caster has raked in from the Corbett family, I'm sure that would raise some eyebrows.

While none of these actions are illegal, they are interesting pieces of the puzzle that form a total picture of an incestuous relationship certain elitist families in the business community enjoy with our elected leaders. This is only the very point on the tip of an enormous iceberg. As we discover more of these cozy relationships, and the money trail that accompanies them, we will bring that information to you.