Buncombe County Republican precinct chair and longtime political activist Don Yelton plans to defend himself against charges of negligence and party disloyalty this evening, June 25.
The party’s executive committee voted in May to strip Yelton of his role as precinct chair and other leadership responsibilities. The move emerged as a fission point in ongoing tensions among different factions of the party.
Meanwhile, Yelton tells Xpress that he plans to appeal the vote all the way up to the state level. That appeal process begins this evening, when he’s given an opportunity to make his case during the committee’s meeting at the Skyland Fire Department, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Yelton says he plans to read the following statement, which includes counter-charges that Chairman Henry Mitchell violated party bylaws by advocating for certain GOP candidates in the primary.
Here’s Yelton’s statement in its entirety:
To Whom it May Concern:
The following is being offered to counter the slanderous and defamatory comments in an attempt to justify the witch- hunt being orchestrated by the Chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party and accelerated by Nathan West, Brenda Fryer, and Nancy Waldrop.
The letter leveling charges against me (Appendix 1) does not comply with the County Structure nor the State Plan of Organization. First and foremost the “written notice” must be postmarked and mailed in the United States Postal Service (see Article VII, section J, 1,2,3). This section spells out that the accused may elect to receive the notice a different way.
I told Henry the night he brought up the charges verbally that he should mail the charges to me. He said, “stay here and we will give it to you tonight”. That was not possible, as I had to leave the meeting due previous commitments. The notice was later delivered to me by a candidate under the pretense that he needed to talk to me. He then asked me to sign indicating that I had received the document: I refused. Any legal document must be handled according to the State Plan of Organization and this was not handled properly.
Next, the letter and signatures were on separate pieces of paper. Some of the signatures are not legible and no titles are associated with them. Some members have even gone so far as to tell me they thought they were signing the attendance sheet. It is my understanding that to be valid the signatures must be on the same sheet of paper as the intended document. Names should be printed and signed. Some method of associating the names with document must be done. It is my belief that there was no typed letter available that night, because no typewriter or printer was in evidence at the meeting.
Also the particulars spelled out in the letter must be related to dismissal or discharge and examples of each occurrence must be identified. Again, you cannot simply level charges without proof. Next the letter of charges references Article I, Section 6, Subsection C of the Buncombe County Structure, which states dismissal is for charges of, “ gross inefficiency, Party Disloyalty, or failure to act in compliance with BCGOP Structure or State Plan of Organization”.
The charges in the letter say that I take a purely confrontational approach, unable to curb temper, disruption of meetings and personal attacks and insults of other members during meetings and outside of meetings as well as other factors, none of which are mentioned in this section. When does the Republican Party have the right to control me outside of meetings? You cannot make these slanderous comments without some examples and proof. As to the charge of disrupting meetings, the job of the chairman is to run the meeting and not permit disruptions. I have always, and will continue to defer authority to the chair of the meeting.
Please consider how the County Structure actually spells out “Party Disloyalty”, and is defined as “supporting a candidate of another party or independent candidate, running in opposition to a nominee of the Republican Party in a GENERAL ELECTION.” (Article I, Section 6, Subsection D). I suggest that you read further down in the Structure and not just pick and choose items to develop the “witch- hunt”. This is rule by executive order just like the someone else we all know!
Nathan West copied a TV show that was on UStream where I simply stated that Kevin King was a good guy who was working on getting signatures to qualify for being on a ballot. He was a guest on my show and I did comment that he was a nice guy and if you did not have a candidate be sure to help him. Actually he was asked not to run by both Parties as it would take votes from their candidate. I have a TV show and I invite all kinds of people to be guests on my show. Does this mean the Republican Party under the direction of Henry Mitchell wants to control content of a TV show and limit freedom of speech?
Please see Appendix II which is a signed, notarized letter from Mr. King. The letter states that his campaign reached out to me for support and help, all which was declined by me. He did thank me for upholding freedom of speech by allowing him on my show. He further stated, “Surely no Republican would be for abridging of any right enumerated by our far wiser founding fathers”. This is a legal statement of fact sworn to under oath. I suggest that those that signed this letter of dismissal to me do the same in verifying their signature.
This letter alone should be sufficient to negate the charge of party disloyalty. This was a primary and not a general election.
The References to Article III, Section 5, of the North Carolina Plan of Organization referenced in the letter listing charges, only state that you can dismiss someone. The reasons for being expelled are spelled out in Article VII, Section 7, Subsection b. which state that party disloyalty is ACTIVELY supporting a candidate of an opposing party or unaffiliated running in opposition to the Republican Party. Need I point out the notarized letter again and note that Kevin King was not even a candidate. He was in the process of getting signatures to become a candidate. This is even further proof that this is a “witch-hunt”. If you are going to follow the rules then follow the rules. Don’t pick and choose what you follow.
This brings up a very interesting topic. Support of candidates if you are the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the party, area coordinator or office holder. It has always been my understanding and that of the District 11 Chair, David Sawyer not to use your position to influence voters. The State Plan of Organization, Article VII, Section G states, “Each Officer and each Member of the State Executive Committee shall refrain from utilizing the powers and dignity of his or her office or position in any Republican PRIMARY for public office at any level”.
Henry Mitchell, Chairman of the Buncombe County GOP is by his position a member of the State Executive Committee. Mr. Annen, the Vice Chair may fill in for him if he is not able to go to meetings. This creates a big problem for both Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Annen. Please see appendix III which again is notarized and therefore a legal document. We have Mr. Mitchell and Vice Chairman Annen actually telling Bobby Honeycutt who to vote for and who not to vote for. Please note they were picking JB Howard, the man that delivered the letter of dismissal to me, over the other candidate because he had been, according to the letter, a Democrat and supposedly would appeal to the Democrats. They also told folks not to vote for RL Clark because he was too old, and never won.
When Mr. Honeycutt asked about the School Board race, Mitchell and Annen stated they were not working on the School Board, and to talk to Lisa Baldwin if he wanted information. The School Board position was what Henry originally ran for while he was a substitute teacher. When he was running for that office he would not tell people he was a Republican because it was a non-partisan race.
In simple terms we have an official letter showing that both Chairman Mitchell and Vice Chairman Annen were using their position to influence voters. Please note that Article VII, Section G states officers SHALL refrain from utilizing the powers and dignity of office or position in Republican Primary. If they are going to bring charges against anyone maybe they should bring charges against themselves. Would Nathan, Brenda or Nancy be willing to do so since they are apparently so concerned.
I have also enclosed in Appendix IV another letter where Lisa Baldwin, our shining star on the school board, was told by poll workers who to vote for during the most recent primary. When she asked for more information she found out the Area-Coordinator was the one pushing this particular candidate. Again people are using positions of authority to push a candidate. We also have the same problem with Brenda Fryer and Nancy Waldrop as they are leaders of the women’s clubs. Of course they would promote their husbands in the primary and general elections. If you note the names and positions, you find that we have people all over the place actually committing what they accused me of doing. Those accusing are the most guilty of violating the Structure and Plans of Organization and especially using their positions to influence voters.
I am the only one that has been pushing “Stop Obama” for over two years. I strongly suggest that everyone that signed the original letter to dismiss me really think about what they are saying and putting their name to. This is a legal document that needs to be proven in the District and maybe even the courts. My main concern is why have all communications been cut off to me since before the County Convention. I was terminated by the actions of Henry Mitchell months ago, before any charges were improperly leveled against me. Henry, you are ruling by executive order. You have declared war on the members of your own Party. You have said it in the paper, and you started with Dorothea Aldefer, and have targeted both me and Chad Nesbitt. At the same time, you are removing people from Chair and Vice Chair precinct positions that represent a challenge to your self-ordained superiority. You should be focusing on pulling together rather than dividing the Party at this crucial time in history. This election is far too important to let egos and desire for praise push you toward those that agree with you only. I suggest that you stop your witch hunt.