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ONLY ON 3: Did Caster break campaign law with e-mails?

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Did Caster break campaign law with e-mails?

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Last week we told you about an e-mail between New Hanover County Commissioner Bill Caster and a volunteer for his campaign. That story got a lot of people talking, and one important question that came out of the discussion was whether Caster could use county e-mail for campaign communication.

We called the county and state Boards of Elections looking for an answer. Today we finally heard back from the state.

The state board pointed us to a state statute that says, "no employee may use county funds, supplies, or equipment for partisan purposes, or for political purposes except where such political uses are otherwise permitted by law." Well, Caster gets paid by the county. That seems to make him an employee.

And we found several e-mails from his county account that are clearly campaign-related, including one to a supporter in which he says, "This has been of the worse (sic) experiences in my life... Please call your friends and neighbors and get them out to vote. It is all about voter turnout."

In another he asks a supporter to get fellow members of American Legion Post 10 "to get out and vote for me. Can you imagine Berger even being a candidate in November?"

The state Board of Elections said the district attorney would have to decide if Caster or any candidate broke the law. New Hanover County DA Ben David is out of town. We've sent the e-mails we found to his office so he can review them when he gets back.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Straight shooter-caster again-lets move on

If you look at various postings you see several by so=called "straight shooter" below---name calling and innuendo-this guy's about as independant as caster---the personal attacks by caster and bender were in a far different category--than his opponent questioning caster's record. Still, this primary is over--and the better candidate won. In spite of some of the attacks on him- I respect Berger--he had the guts as many have noted to take on status quo and seek change---that says a lot more than some others who sat on their hands. In any event let's see what DA does with this caster issue on use of county equipment by caster.

Speaking of Ruthless attacks, Berger supporters led the way!

I'm not upset that Caster lost. I am bothered that he was blamed for everything perceived to be bad by Berger and his supporters. I too think change is good and needed but just question this Weirdo Berger guy and his lack of experience as being the one.
PS After all of these post no one is talking or digging into Berger's past. Seems stupid to me to see such support for somebody that you know nothing about.

Bill Caster Misconduct?

We know now that Bill was directly involved in the sleaze and personal attacks directed at Berger. Wonder if WWAY or the Wilmington Star ever apologized for their very questionable reporting or acknowledged who played a role in those stories attacking or questioning Berger's truthfullness, like the story WWAY ran painting Brian as a complainer and the next day bragging about how WWAY "broke" the story which in fact proved Brian was telling the truth all along - not complaining, as it turns out - he was doing the media's job for them and WWAY took credit after Berger's story was verified as being factual. Was there ever an apology?

Tricia Vance's ridiculous editorial and refusal to admit that all of Caster's lies to the media were wrong in any way whatsoever speaks to her lack of integrity. She even blamed some "fictitious" or "super secret" "Berger supporter" for being wrong to question Caster lying, but never saw anything wrong with Caster being dishonest...what does that say about the moral standards of the Wilmington Star and Tricia V. and Bob Gruber?

I suppose they also blame robbery victims for saying, "I was robbed" and defend the thug who committed the robbery. I have yet to read an apology and the star never even acknowledged the story which WWAY did do a very solid job reporting on it after checking the facts for themselves.

However, there may be a lot more to this story...I have heard it suggested that non-profit organizations may have violated the law in promoting Bill Caster. If true, that would be illegal I think? Was Caster involved or aware of those violations by any non-profit organizations?

And what was the origin of the out-of-context and perhaps unfair mass headline story calling Berger a liar ("Berger fibs") the night before the election. That doesn't smell right still and seems "planted" by the Caster campaign; not newsworthy as I heard Berger talk about the same thing during the campaign and most people would agree if asked to weigh the facts and not names that the "liar" headline was way over the top...berger mispoke, but he was discussing something he has discussed before, just wasn't as clear as he could have been but was not "lying" or trying to deceive anyone. Caster was absolutely attempting to deceive in his email and the cover-up after the email story emerged.

Berger immediately owned up to his mistake, and clarified in detail what he in fact meant, Caster lied intentionally and then lied again, and still didn;t really come clean when confronted with evidence that he was busted!

In addition to non-profits, perhaps, who else was involved in Caster's campaign of lies besides Caster himself and Dave Benford (the highest paid "volunteer" in history). Were certain self-described "political consultants" in Wilmington involved in spreading malicious lies about Berger? If so, who, and were any laws broken by them such as slander/defamation? Did Caster pay them or anyone else to spread lies about Berger? Did he have any private investigators stalking Berger or his family?

And who financed Caster's negative campaign. It seems like Caster's campaign cost an awful lot of money...where did that money come from? If there's a story there, WWAY should "break it" and there just might be a whole series of newsworthy stories, involving caster's actions as a Commissioner (voting for dollars?), County government decisions such as purchasing/contracts, lobbying other politicians, zonings, appointments, salaries. Where does the story end, maybe we've heard all there is to hear...but it's more likely WWAY is sitting on a series of bombshells and doesn't know it or doesn't want to tell the rest of this story.

Mr D.A. - where are you????


these e-mails confirm how a desparate politico like caster might do anything to his arrogance he probably didn't care that he might be violating election laws.

Remind Caster WHY he lost!

I just read that Caster thinks he got beat because everyone is tired of the incumbants. Mr. Caster, your arrogance, lies, your attitude, your one sided votes on issues that have caused a negative impact on county residents, your inability to "watch" over your county's business, Your unwillingness to come into the 21st century, your inability to balance a budget to know how much you can spend and what to do when funds aren't available, your inability to keep track of New Hanover County's annual budget showing dollars and dollars of mistakes and your inability to compromise and listen to other's way of thinking are but a FEW of the reasons it is past time for you to go home and stay out of the county's business. But don't feel alone. . I'm sure there will be more to follow you out the door when their time comes for re-election. And, that's not only on the county level. Folks are tired of the whining because of lack of money for repairs followed by over spending and building buildings we can't afford. You can all start planning a retirement trip together. Our wishes have fallen on deaf ears for a long time with the council and commissioners and this is what you get when you forget how you got in to office in the first place and WHY YOU WERE PUT IN OFFICE. Do you even remember??

Making Mountains out of Mole Hills

These emails are no more ridiculous or illegal, than this news story is relevant or interesting.

I don't like Caster. Loathe him in fact, but him telling people to please get out and vote for him hardly seems to constitute illegal activites or anything more than an extremely minor misuse of his county email. These seem like snippets from email correspondences with people he knows rather than him soliciting voters.

Hardly a scandal. Definitely not newsworthy.
Go ahead and dig deeper if there is a story, but presenting this is shoddy journalism.


Caster is so arrogant that he probably thought no one had the right to question him using county computers for his campaign. I bet he thinks he was entitled to them. Wonder if he woke up this morning in a reality check?

lets put caster and his campaign behind us

I'll leave it to DA to decide- but i have had enough of Caster. I was disgusted by his campaign--and I did not like his perfoemance in office--but can we now focus on issues that impact us going forward. In the County Commission race and the State senate race- we had enough attacks against some of teh candidates-enough of caster-let's hope for a better campaign focused on issues and not attack ads or e-mails like Bill used--but let him leave and lets move on--I trust DA to do the right thing.

So bad

It's so obvious when Caster and his employees even plant letters here on news websites. I'm sure I know which one of the first five comments here is not real. Anybody else wanna guess. I think it's the one about suggesting they investigate Berger.

Caster broke the rules

Someone ought to tell the caster voters the run off is over---while i favor another candidate note in run oof I am weary of the caster attacks on his opponent.E-mails matter here because if county equpment was used that may be a violation of law. Caster was known for arrogance and for being a tough cookie who liked to push people around-he forgot public office isn't the coast guard. so, if he abused the law then this may be a big deal---but let's get caster off stage--we had enough over 18 years

Why are you guys so concerned about some worthless e-mails?

Caster is done and thank you Mr. Caster for your service to our Country and our Community.
Shouldn't our news organizations here be looking more into Berger's past? Nobody seems to know much about this guy. He and his supporters have been very sensitive about his past.

It doesn't matter if it isn't trashy, right?

The only things the media and the public dig into are the trashy issues of a candidates past. This is likely the reason there isn't a lot to know about Berger, we may actually have a county commissioner candidate that has some morals, ethics and is truly for the people for once. He got my vote and I'm going to give him another!


Because of the rules

Because if your buddy Caster broke the rules by using county equipment to campaign he needs to pay for that violation. Or should we turn a blind eye? Doing that helped Wilmington get in the position it currently is in. Caster is gone.

worthless e-mails?

The only thing worthless about those e-mails is the person who broke the law to send them. Do you really want your tax money being spent on one candidate's campaign just because he has the power to do so?

If I am not mistaken using county resources for a campaign was just a fraction of the things that Ron Hewett went to prison for.

Stop with the innuendo-Caster lost

If you look at comments under "Caster e-mail sent to DA" and this comment-you notice same innuendo from same person(straight shooter)-is bill caster still sending e-mails? Enough- caster lost attcking his opponent won't change result and you don't address what he did-==but if it makes you happy keep making sleaze innuendo statements-the voters will decide in November--and at least we won't have to wory about caster--frankly most people wouldn't run but if they did they would not allow friends or associates to be attacked unfairly by the likes of people like you and Caster= I think the young man answered the question on WWAY3 when you planted the same crap and if you dont like the answer-tough-your free to vote for another. But get real and let it go-you lost and the issue is Caster e-mails

Because he may have broken the law?

Breaking the law is okay if Bill does it?

So much for those much touted conservative values....

The law and rules are clear

Just like the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. Because this issue involves a politician and his politics, I'm sure it will be handled differently.

DA should at least investigate caster

At very least DA should examine all e-mails leading up to primary on May 4th and run off June 22 --did Caster use County time and equipment and offices in violation of state election law?
This may go beyond this run off--DA should investigate--then decide what to do if necessary. Public has right to know.

Nasty-maybe unlawful-Caster conduct

The DA may let him off the hook for political reasons but it supports a lot of peoples perception that the Caster campaign was very mean spirited and didnt care about the law or distorted personal attacks on anyone who stood up to Bill. It's funny how he says this is "worse" campaign--his mudslinging and his lies--the ones we now know about and the ones we may never know about were the issue.
Caster never liked playing by any rules but his own.

Just chaulk up another one

Just chaulk up another one for Caster...

This time he just got caught how many other times did he get away with it ????