ONLY ON 3: We uncover email that proves Caster campaign not truthful about letter to editor
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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.

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

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.

Talk is CHEAP.

This is ridiculous, BRIAN BERGER has been doing the same exact thing but why is this newstation only reporting on one side? This is unfair news coverage and i strongly suggest WWAY look at Brain Berger with the same interest they do with Bill Caster. How about the job Brian was fired from? How about Berger's employment status or lack there of?

Notice How Brian Berger is talking about issues, and all Bill Caster and his greedy minions (likely donna girardot's sleazy homebuilder parasites with no houses to build, time on their hands, and a desire for more corrupt government so they can build convention centers and baseball parks) are throwing baseless accusations at Berger.

"BRIAN BERGER has been doing the same exact thing" for example. I highly doubt that. Do you any evidence whatsoever? Nope...your just slinging mud like Bill Caster because Berger is RIGHT on the issues, and Caster can't talk about issues or his big government record, his spending, corruption and incompetence. These are facts.

Where's yours Charlotte? You have none because I KNOW for a fact that Brian Berger and his supporters, grassroots conservatives with no agenda based on greed, have done no such thing.

Your desperate like Caster "Charlotte" and following the entire Caster campaign strategy...make baseless, dishonest, indecent personal attacks against Berger to distract voters from the issues.

You and Caster, if you aren't in fact Bill, share something: Lack of Honor and integrity.

Berger may not be perfect but he's honorable and sincere and smart. You are not and need to read a Bible, because you and Caster show a lack of Christian decency in making baseless attacks against Berger, who has put himself out for all this abuse because he cares about taxpayers. And for that people like you and sleazy dishonorable Bill and Dave Benford crucify him mercilessly with lies.

Above post is common bender and caster tactic.BENDER AND CASTER LIE AND DECEIVE --THEY GOT CAUGHT MORE THAN ONCE-AND NOW THEY PLANT THIS COMMENT--NO FACTS-INNUENDO-THROW MUD AND LIES AND HOPE PEOPLE BELIEVE IT.
ENOUGH OF BENDER AND CASTER-IF YOU USE THE WORD RIDICULOUS-PLANT IT ALONGSIDE THE TACTICS CASTER HAS TRIED AND WILL FAIL WITH-LOOK AT CASTER RECORD-HIS CAMPAIGN LIES IN PAST AND HIS SLEAZE---WE NEED ANYBODY BUT CASTER-MORE TO POINT AS OTHERS HAVE NOTED-BRIAN BERGER IS HEAD AND SHOULDERS BETTER ON ISSUES THAN CASTER AND HIS LIES AND SLEAZE.

Just like their letter Caster and Bender think if they throw enough mud -something will stick. WHEN BENDER AND CASTER LIED TO WWAY3 and the headlines questioned Berger- they were pleased-now that truth is out they will throw all the mud they can-shame on them their actions are disgusting-ENOUGH of caster mudslinging.
Caster and Bender sleaze is a loser-its just a question of now or in November

It's certainly an interesting turn of events. I happen to know Bill personally, and while I don't really care one way or the other about him as a person, he obviously has some qualities lacking integrity if this is true. As far as his record, I generally don't much problem with him...special interest is just another word for voters you don't agree with. He's been a big supporter of expansion of our area in terms of real estate and building, which I support hugely so I can't fault him there.

People always get up in arms when words like "special interests" are thrown around. Guess what...the industries that are labeled "special interests" represent real voters who put up their money for their own good. I have no problem with that at all. It's how our system works. If you don't agree with their position, give to an opposing group or start one yourself and put your money where your mouth is!

Just to close up...i'm not a republican so I won't be voting for either of them, but I still don't really have a problem with Bill's record for the most part. Personally I think you have to be inherently crooked to even want to be a politician and almost every election is picking the lesser of two evils!

Well, as a county employee it's a bout time for Caster to depart. Finally the public is seeing what county employees have seen for years. And, the beauty of it all, he did it to himself, and was stupid enough to get caught. Looking forward to having Berger on my side !!!

BILL HAS MADE OUR TAX DOLLARS DISAPPEAR WITH RECKLESS SPENDING AND WASTEFUL MANAGEMENT.
CASTER HAS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO SPEND ON THIS CAMPAIGN WITH MONEY FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS WHO HAVE DEALS WITH COUNTY.
BILL IS LIKE A MAGICIAN-NOW YOU SEE HIS POOR LEADSHIP FOR WHAT IT IS--AND NOW WE KNOW WHATEVER CLASS HE MIGHT ONCE HAVE HAD-HAS DISAPPEARED.
BRIAN BERGER SHOWED ME SOME GUTS- HE WAS VINDICATED BY WWAY3 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ON THE SCAM LETTER-BUT BERGER WAS THE ONE WHO HAD COURAGE TO CHALLENGE CASTER-HAVING TO KNOW HE WOULD BE OUTSPENT AND HIT BY CASTER/BENFORD CAMPAIGN OF SLEAZE.
WIN OR LOSE BRIAN BERGER HAS EARNED MY RESPECT.
STAY THE COURSE BERGER -VOTERS ARE SMART-WE WILL SEE THROUGH CASTERS MAGIC ACT.

IT IS A SIGN OF OUR TIME THAT WE HAVE BEEN DIVERTED BY BILL CASTER FROM SOME ISSUES WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT-TITAN,TAXES, ETC. AT COUNTY LEVEL. I KNEW HE WAS SLICK - I HAD NO CONCEPT HE WAS SO LACKING IN INTEGRITY.
This run off is about the future of Republicans and the rest of us who live here. Do we want better County Government and less deception from our representatives? I hope the answer is yes. Brian Berger is right this is a time for change. Do we want to take on special interests like Titan or let them influence and buy politicians like Caster?
Do we want to bring new businesses and better employment opportunities here? Brian might do it -he seems to care about more jobs for all of us-
Bill Caster cares about one job—his own!
Taxes- Bill has failed us on that issue miserably-while taking donations from many special interests over the years? That cries out for new leaders.
We really shouldn’t be willing to accept the status quo when we have a chance for a better leader in Brian Berger in this run off on Tuesday the 22nd.

FINE AND DANDY TO SEE ALL THESE COMMENTS-BUT IT IS NOT WORTH THE SPACE--UNLESS WE GET OUT AND VOTE. I AGREE BERGER IS BETTER CHOICE- BUT
CASTER ADS ARE STILL RUNNING, CASTER CALLS ARE STILL BEING MADE AND CASTER WILL DO OR SAY ANYTHING TO HOLD POWER-HE HAS BECOME GREEDY AND ADDICTED. WE CAN TALK ABOUT TERM LIMITS ANOTHER TIME- BUT IF WE REALLY RESPECT BERGER'S STANDS AND COURAGE--WE NEED TO VOTE. THAT IS ALL THAT COUNTS ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.

Caster is a corrupt lifelong politician whose time is up.
Enjoy retirement Billy, maybe you can go to work as a gardener for the Corbetts.

I had not fully formed my decision in this Runoff Election, but everyday some things are becoming more and more clear:

-Bill Caster is "slick", seems like a nice grandpa-type with moderate-to-liberal views on most county issues but a nice guy

-Brian Berger doesn't have Caster's salesmanship. Berger compensates for a lack of "polish" by being extremely well-informed and knowledgeable.

-Caster served in the Coast Guard. Berger was a volunteer firefighter and special olympucs volunteer...both honorable pursuits, but Berger's knowledge of firefighting seems more needed in the County right now (perhaps Berger could take over Jason Thompsons seat on the Fire Commission...might be a win-win-win for everyone)

-Caster has run a dirty campaign and is obviously, dishonorably and disgustingly, attacking Brian Berger, lying about him, a complete lack of integrity by Bill to avoid talking about issues

-Berger is the only one of the two talking about issues honestly and intelligently

-Where are the other candidates and republican leadership? Allowing this pointless, deceitful and mean-spirited attack campaign by caster reflects very negatively on the entire republican party and candidates in the general election, and they should (if for no other reason than to help secure their own elections in november) be out in public (and privately) telling caster and his supporters to stick to the issues, be honest and show some Christian decency in your campaign. What does their silence indicate? It suggests that the GOP establishment is backing caster and republicans stand for nothing...just maintaining the status quo.

-Finally, it is becoming more clear that Caster needs to go, and Brian Berger is the better candidate, more honorable in his actions, courageous and ready to lead. All Republicans should be backing Brian Berger and pushing as hard as they can to get him elected (including voting for him, making calls, and getting other republicans and eligible independents to vote for berger as well).

-I wasn't sure about Berger before, but he has impressed me and Caster has shown us that 18-years was long enough...Berger is the better candidate.

WWAY - I take my hat off to you. There have been those of us who have been exposing Bill Caster for what he really is on our blogs, in our social circles, and in the grocery store checkout line - all while the local media, usually so friendly to the status quo, looks the other way.

You have given validity to us all, and are finally leading the way for the local media to not be such yes men to the machine of corruption, lies, and incestuous favoritism - which is Caster's legacy.

David Beford's Star News antics cost Woody White an election just days before a vote. Now it looks like another good man is circling the political drain thanks to him. When are the local folks going to sweep this social/political poser back under the rock he crawled out from under?

Was David Benford the guy who did the "Julia Boseman is a lesbian" last minute smear for Mr. White's campaign?

Yea- benford and caster believe negative and sleaze politics is the way to go--usually they got awya with it-this time caster own lie and stupidity let them get caught. if we keep electing people like Caster-we get what we deserve. Let's help that guy Brian Berger- I just talked about caster- Brian Berger had the class to take him on.

IT IS BAD ENOUGH TO ENGAGE IN SLEAZY TACTICS LIKE CASTER.
IT IS BAD ENOUGH FOR BENFORD AND CASTER TO USE DECEPTIVE PRACTICES LIKE THEIR PHONY CALL SCAM.THEIR PLAN-DRIVE UP OPPONENT NEGATIVES-
WHAT THEY HAVE DONE INSTEAD IS REMIND US OF CASTERS' TERRIBLE RECORD-HIS CORRUPT MANAGEMENT AND POOR JUDGEMNT ON TITAN, ABC AND THE CAPE FEAR UTILITY AND OTHER ISSUES WE DEAL WITH EVERY DAY.THE BALL IS IN OUR COURT AS VOTERS- WE CAN LET CASTERS DECEIT AND SLEAZE GET BY- OR WE CAN VOTE FOR HIS OPPONENT, MR. BERGER. AS FOR ME I WILL TAKE A CHANCE WITH BERGER. CASTER SHOULD BE REJECTED BY ALL WHO WANT BETTER GOVERNMENT.

Hey Bill - glad you could join us. Are you actually insulting the intelligence of the voters to such a degree that you are trying to claim that you had no knowledge of this? That this wasn't your doing? You received the email from Benford - it was at that point you should have said, that this was dishonest and shady - but dishonest and shady is the way you've always got things done isn't it?

We will be celebrating your departure from our county and our pocketbooks.

Caster? You have GOT to be kidding! He is without a doubt the most corrupt in a county chok-ful-o-crooks. Now he's been caught red-handed as a party to a whopper of a lie.

I notice you posted very late: Please don't post while drunk.

Just how does a reporter gain access to a county e-mail server? I know that public officials' communications are supposed to be made available to the public, but I thought that there was a waiting period before messages could be release. Glad you caught the @$$ in a lie, but I'm just wondering what kind of slacker the county has running their IT department if they let just anyone in to snoop around.

James,

Anyone, not just reporters, can go to the County building off of Racine and dig through every County employee or official's email, its the law.

If you see commissioner pass a note to someone during an official meeting you have the right to look at it.

When you have nothing better to do its fun to pry into these people's lives. You wouldnt believe how much they talk to each other about drinking.

CASTER&NIXON-----
I just got one of those automated calls from Caster’s campaign. How do you think the recording starts? It starts with Brian’s voice. Everyone is annoyed by automated campaign calls and if one were to hang up without hearing the whole message you’d think the call came from the Berger campaign. But I wanted to hear Brian out and only because I listened to the end did I find that the call came from the Caster campaign.
Nixon and Caster =DIRTY PHONE TRICKS VOTERS SHOULD REJECT CASTER's POOR JUDGMENT AND SLEAZE TACTICS-Phoney LETTER AND NOW THIS PHONE SLEAZE-CASTER POOR JUDGMENT AND LACKING IN INTEGRITY=SHAME ON REPUBLICANS IF WE DO NOT RETIRE CASTER

Reject CASTER PHONE SCAM

CASTER TACTICS WITH PHONE CALLS IMPLYING IT IS HIS OPPONENT ARE REPREHENSIBLE. CASTER HAS CONVINCED ME I NEED TO VOTE- I WILL VOTE FOR BRIAN BERGER BECAUSE I THINK HE IS OK ON ISSUES-
I WILL VOTE TO REJECT CASTER RECORD OF FAILURE, A CAMPAIGN THAT HAS USED THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF MONIES FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS TO DECEIVE US AND I WILL VOTE AGAINST CASTER BECAUSE HE IS SO LACKING IN RESPECT FOR VOTERS THAT HE HAS SHOWN A COMPLETE LACK OF CHARACTER.

I agree with an earlier comment that when Caster shed his uniform he shed his integrity.
Just look at facts--phone call scam-fake negative letters-deceptive ads-and now this mailer we got over weekend. Does it pay to ask where Caster is getting all this money and why? Again-if you look at facts-he has a poor record on taxes and his waste, mismanagment and poor judgment has helped his friends-but not all of us. We complain about what is taking place or not taking place here in County-we can begin to do something by coming out to vote for Brian Berger who seems to be better on issues that really matter. Just look at money trial and slezy practices---when it comes to an empty space on anyone's resume-we ought to be looking at caster's lack of integrity.

Caster has always been a crook. Did you ever stop in his used sporting goods store? It was highway robbery. He was charging premium price for USED equipment. Seriously, you could go to Dick's and buy it new cheaper. His business practices can dictate what kind of leader he would be. Keep Bill Cater out of office.

As a retired military member I was planning on voting for Bill Caster just because he had given so much for the country. It's painfully obvious however that he shed his integrity when he shed his uniform.

I'll be voting for the other guy.

If caster buys this run off with his thousands of dollars of special interests monies from folks doing business with the County-lets form Republicans against Caster -we need better-I too will now vote for BRian Berger= he has a consistent stand on many issues- I can not support a person as lacking in character and management skills as Caster=someone called Caster a master of deception--if we let him steal this run off-we need only blame ourselves

Besides having Little Man syndrome, Bill Caster has always been a slick politician. This little weasel should have stood up against the ABC czar and thrown him out long before the public found out about the outrageous salary.
No, Billy Caster doesn't give a crap about New Hanover County...he just wants to see his Little Man Stature looking Big.

No republican can possibly vote for Caster-who has been running a campaign of deceit-not only in phony letters and deceptive phone calls-but an arrogant attitude in addressing voters concerns with his poor record and stand on issues. LIke John Edwards-Caster isn't sorry he did it =just that he got caught.Like Nixon- Caster covered up thinking he could stone wall it. Caster must go-Brian Berger has guts and is right on the isssues-and all the Caster sleaze and baloney wont full us-VOTE for Berger on 22nd--if he wins great and if not let's all vote Democratic-we cant support a Republican Psrty that tolerates the sleaze and corruption of a Caster

Hat's off to TV3 for breaking this story - right under the nose of the very newspaper that printed the editorial. What are the media in this town doing? Sure, the editorial page editor says she "confirmed" the letter and signature, but did anyone at the newspaper think to ask Caster about his involvement? The people's watchdog has become nothing more than a lame lapdog for the local politicians...can't stir the pot on a candidate who's buying advertising space in the newspaper, can you? Shame on StarNews, congratulations to TV3 for breaking the story!