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ONLY ON 3 UPDATE: DA to check out commissioners' e-mails


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- An update to a story you saw ONLY ON 3. Earlier this week, we found that New Hanover County Commissioner Bill Caster was using county email for his reelection campaign. Yesterday, former commission candidate Justin LaNasa claimed commissioners Jonathan Barfield and Jason Thompson were guilty of the same thing in regards to the quarter cent sales tax increase.

We spoke with District Attorney Ben David today. He didn't want to comment on camera, but he said he will look into the claims. That's not to say the commissioners did anything wrong, but David says there is a law that county employees cannot use a public server for political use.

We found several e-mails Caster sent from his county account asking voters for their support. Other e-mails from the New Hanover County computer system show both Thompson and Barfield e-mailed community members urging them to support the quarter-cent sales tax increase. Sales tax brochures the county produced were attached to some of the e-mails in an effort to educate voters.

We spoke to Barfield by phone today. He said as a county, commissioners have the ability to educate people on issues. LaNasa says the commissioners used their county resources for the wrong reasons.

One main question that needs to be answered is what does state statue mean when it says county employees cannot use county resources for "political purposes?"

David says he plans to evaluate the emails before making any decision to take action.

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