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.
We're continuing to work on this story and will have more for you later in the afternoon.