A shroud of wrongdoing has surrounded Gov. Beverly Perdue for a while. Specifically, the state Board of Elections investigated the issue of campaign flights that went unreported on campaign finance reports.
While the State Board of Elections fined The Bev Perdue Committee $30,000 for failing to report numerous flights, Perdue has not been charged or indicted for anything related to the issue. And Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby Jr. has said Perdue wont face any charges.
However, others connected to her campaign and office have been charged.
Two people from the Greater Hickory area have been indicted, while two others farther east also have been indicted.
–Robert Lee Caldwell of Morganton, a retired state magistrate, was the first person indicted in connection to Perdues campaign. He was indicted in Wake County in February for felony obstruction of justice.
The indictment claimed Caldwell got James Fleming, a Morganton barber, to write a check to the committee but reimbursed Fleming for the check with cash from an unnamed source. It says Caldwell then used Flemings check to pay Profile Aviation for air travel for the committee and then reported it as an in-kind campaign contribution from Fleming.
The indictment says Caldwell knew that Fleming didnt make the contribution but that it came from another unnamed source.
An invoice for the flight from Profile Aviation Services was initially made out to Fulenwider Enterprises, which is a restaurant company run by Charles Mike Fulenwider.
However, Fulenwider Enterprises was marked out on the invoice and replaced with Perdue for Governor, along with a post office box number. According to the state board of elections report, the post office box is the same one provided for Fulenwider on campaign finance reports.
–Juleigh Sitton, daughter of retired Superior Court Judge Claude Sitton and his wife Jo, who has served as a delegate to several Democratic National Conventions, was indicted in November. Sitton, a Morganton attorney, was charged with obstruction of justice and filing false campaign reports, both felonies.
Sitton resigned in August as director of the governors Western Office in Asheville and resigned in November as a governor-appointed member of the Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees.
She is accused of concealing $32,000 in payments from a source other than the Bev Perdue Committee and failing to include the contributions in campaign reports.
–Peter Anthony Reichard of Greensboro, Perdues campaign finance director in 2007-08, is accused of funneling the $32,000 in under-the-table payments from wealthy Perdue donor Fulenwider, according to indictments. The indictment against Reichard said he funneled the payments through his merchant banking firm, Tryon Capital Ventures, LLC, to pad Sittons salary.
Reichard was accused of soliciting money from Fulenwider and allowing him to make excessive contributions to Tryon. In December, Reichard entered an Alford plea to the charges and received a suspended sentence of six to eight months, two years of unsupervised probation and a $25,000 fine. An Alford plea does not admit guilt but does admit there is enough evidence to convict.
–Trawick H. Buzzy Stubbs Jr. of New Bern, a law partner of Perdues deceased first husband, was also indicted at the same time as Sitton and Reichard. Stubbs was indicted on felony charges for providing more than $28,000 in undisclosed flights on private planes to Perdue as she ran for governor.
Its unclear when the cases against Caldwell and Sitton will be heard in court.
Willoughby was not available for questions on Thursday. Willoughbys office said on Thursday that he would be out of the office until(Friday) afternoon.
At the time Sitton, Reichard and Stubbs were indicted, Willoughby said he didnt expect Perdue would be charged. He said at the time that none of the evidence from an investigation indicated any misconduct by Perdue or any elected officials. Perdue has cooperated with the investigation, he said.
Willoughby said that within the US justice system a person is responsible for their behavior but not vicariously responsible for other peoples behavior.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.