Caster, supporters refute Berger's fake letter claim

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The battle between Brian Berger and Bill Caster is heating up. Both Republicans are in Tuesday's run-off to be New Hanover County Commissioner. Today Berger hurled new accusations at the Caster campaign.

Berger is accusing incumbent Caster of mud-slinging and manufacturing a letter to the editor in Tuesday's StarNews. In an e-mail his campaign sent out Wednesday morning, Berger claims the letter from Phyllis S. Smith, which criticizes Berger for being a former Libertarian, was written by Caster's paid consultant David Benford and is deceptive and dishonest.

We made some phone calls to check out Berger's claims. Tricia Vance, who's on the StarNews's editorial page staff, said spoke with Smith herself and verified her signature on the letter. Benford said he did not write the letter, nor is he a paid consultant, but only a volunteer. Caster confirmed Smith is a friend of his.

Berger also complained about the number of pro-Caster posts on our website. When we went back to look, though, pro-Berger posts handily outnumber anti-Berger posts.

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wednesday, we told you about a letter to the editor published Wednesday in the StarNews that criticized New Hanover County Commission candidate Brian Berger for being a former Libertarian. The letter was signed by Phyllis S. Smith.

Berger accused incumbent Bill Caster of having campaign volunteer David Benford plant the letter in the paper. Tricia Vance, who's on the StarNews's editorial page staff, said she spoke with Smith herself and verified her signature on the letter. Benford said he did not write the letter, nor is he a paid consultant, but only a volunteer. Caster confirmed Smith is a friend of his.

Today, we found an e-mail on the county government e-mail server dated June 8 from Benford to Caster with the letter attached. In it, Benford says, "Please find someone to send attached letter to editor in to the StarNews. The directions for doing so are printed in the paper."

The letter attached is almost word-for-word the same as the one printed in the paper Wednesday and signed by Smith.

At least Caster has a background, he has experience and he will make a stand... Berger has none of these and is only a WIMP!

Bill Caster is a yes man for Jason Thompson....that's his background and experience!

Mr. Caster-or Mr. Bender---instead of the wimp comment-maybe you can both resign--you used county time and equipment for your campaign-and you lied to WWAY3 and deceived the star news. The Caster failed record of poor judgment and mismanagement and his campaign sleaze are unworthy. Shame on you both--and shame on us if we dont turn out on 22nd and support a candidate with guts-Brian Berger.
Bill Caster is the past- his conduct now is sad to view.

Caster ran from debates or answering questions directly from voters- he is whining about incumbancy but using monies from those who have deals with County. Rather than address questions voters are asking and concerned about- caster goes negative-with deceit and distortion. Fact is will Bill deny that he or his aide have circulated by e-mail letters for some of us to sign and try to get published. More important than this- is the stand on issues like ABC, Titan, Taxes, spending- Berger had courage to take on special interests and caster- he has my support on 22nd. If he wins- we have some choices in general election-if he doesn't -I will vote for both democrats- Bill can lie- but he cant distort his record of failures and poor judgement and his arrogance is not what I want in people who we elect to serve us. caster forgot that- berger knows that.

When it comes to whining berger cant touch caster who has done it for years-and now does it because he is running from his record-his arrogance with voters and the truth. Caster may be able to buy a run-off but a broader electorate in Novemeber will reject his record of failure and deception. This run off will show whether republicans stand for something better with Brian or the status quo of special interest deals with Caster. Simple put, we cant win in November with caster-look at his records and his tactics-Ok this time but a bust then.

Let us all look at math issues we should all be concerned with--
(1)THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS THAT CASTER HAS TAKEN FROM SPECIAL INTERETS THAT DO BUSINESS WITH THE COUNTY!
(2)Let's look at numbers-the tax increase and spending that caster has voted for!
(3)Let's look at the poor numbers caster is repsonsible for at ABC and Cape Fear!
(4)And then there is that little matter of a 10 million dollar accounting error on Bill's watch- costing County and all of us!
If you study the math and their positions on issues of concern-Brian Berger is far ahead of his opponent. That's the math!

Once again we have an example in comments made by caster cronies about why we need to reject Caster and his politics, This isnt about any one whining-just stating what these comments reconfirm- Caster cant defend his record on taxes, spending, mismangement of ABC and Cape Fear-or his sweetheart deal with Titan. So he does what any incumbent with a poor record does= Caster goes negative and tries to distract from the real issues in this run off Caster's record of deception and poor judgment. No need to whine- just look at Caster record-now that record is something we should be upset with.

If Benford is a volunteer, why has he received more than $7500 (probably close to 20000 by now or more) from Caster in just the first couple months of this year? How is that not "paid"?

I find it hard to believe that a so-called "libertarian conservative" as caster calls Berger would complain about online blog postings. Something is fishy in this story, and not adding up...what's up WWAY?

Where's the rest of the story...this reads like fiction.

Caster's whole campaign has been based on lies and not talking issues, so perhaps we should assume this report is a mostly one-sided piece direct from the Caster campaign.

And what of the letter, fake or not? Who's telling the truth here. Probably Berger. He's more honest and straightforward than Bill is, by far!

Finish the chapter at least.

"Berger also complained about the number of pro-Caster posts on our website. When we went back to look, though, pro-Berger posts handily outnumber anti-Berger posts."

Obviously Brian still can't count.

Let's revisit a few things...

In America when you get more votes you win... unless you Al Gore or Brian Berger. Caster 5090 and Berger 4899

In America you have free speach... 1st. amendment... unless you don't say what Brian and his supporters want in their America.

In America if you stand up for yourself, your brave... not with Brian's America, your a mud-slinger

Sound like Brian's America is more like socialism or maybe a fine French whine...

He has no experience and no idea of what he is trying to step into. Just a lot of B.S.!

What the star news actually says-is that they verified the "signature"---not who drafted the letter and sent it out for someone--perhaps a
"Caster friend" to sign. I think the gist of issue is not whether caster or his campaign aide did anything unlawful- but the kind of campaign they have conducted---lets get back to what really matters to us here--the different positions the candidates have on so many issues-ABC, Titan, taxes and spending to name a few--and Caster's record as the incumbent. we will all make our own decision--for me it's change and Berger---but whatever others decide these are the issues we should focus on.

Focusedvoter wrote: "I think the gist of issue is not whether caster or his campaign aide did anything unlawful- but the kind of campaign they have conducted"

What is illegal for us, isn't illegal for politicians. Take the Bob Etheridge incident for example, or the current administration and the party that has been in power the last few years in the senate and forever in N.C.

The kind of Campaign Bill Caster is running turns my stomach. Don't talk about issues Bill. Distort, attack, confuse and promise, thats the politically correct way these days.

What has anyone done about the 20 plus million illegals that have waltzed across our open border and taken 20 plus million jobs and resources away from legal Americans? They (all illegals and especially Mexicans) have clogged our jails and hospitals and strained our infrastucture.

This country is flat broke and trillions in debt with no end in sight. These are just some of the issues I wanna hear about.

You've had your chance Bill and look where we're at under your reign.

I'd rather have a county commissioner who was fiscally conservative while advocating drug legalization than the current county commissioner who claims he's a conservative while blowing money like a drunken sailor. Caster = Cronyism = Corruption.