FIRST ON 3: New Hanover Co. Commission candidate finds fake Instagram account

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County Commission candidate is speaking out tonight after she says a fake Instagram account was created under her name.

The fake account may also be tied to another candidate. New Hanover County Commission Candidate Patricia Kusek said she learned about the fake account today, and she said another candidate’s wife may be connected to it.

An anonymous viewer sent a photo to WWAY of an Instagram notification on their phone. It said, “Your Facebook friend Catherine Fleming is on Instagram as patriciakusek.” Fleming is Derrick Hickey’s wife. Hickey is also running for a seat on the commission.

Kusek said she knew it would not be easy running for a political seat, but she said she did not expect something like this to happen shortly after filing.

“I’ve never been on Instagram, so I was floored actually and you know not sure,” Kusek said. “I don’t know how you even stop something like that or what you do or what anybody’s motivation would be to do that.”

This is not the first time Fleming has been accused of something like this. In 2012 Fleming, purchased then New Hanover County school board member Elizabeth Redenbaugh’s web domain and linked it to a conservative political blog.

We have reached out to Hickey and Fleming several times Monday. Late Monday, Fleming sent WWAY an email and Facebook message responding to the account. The following is her full comment:

“Good evening, WWAY!
I’m not on Instagram. While I don’t condone anyone using my name to do it, as someone who has personally been unfairly persecuted by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, I can understand why someone might make a social media account about one of it’s board members. There seem to be more than a few people who don’t have warm feelings about CFPUA. The “Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Sucks” Facebook page is an indicator (and certainly not my doing). With rate hikes every year except an election year when 3 CFPUA board members are running for county commissioner…as a slate… CFPUA – the model of good governance. 😉
Best wishes,
Catherine Fleming”
The three board members Fleming is referring are Kusek, the chair, Jim Brumit, the vice-chair, and Commissioner Woody White, who is running for re-election. That trio is among several Republicans running for a seat on the commission.
Categories: Local, New Hanover

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