“You are beneath contempt:” Bothwell voicemail to Dunn leads to fracas

“You are beneath contempt:” Bothwell voicemail to Dunn leads to fracas-attachment0

A public dispute has arisen over Asheville City Council member and congressional candidate Cecil Bothwell‘s angry voicemail to Joe Dunn, after the former Council member wrote a letter to the Asheville Citizen-Times criticizing Bothwell and Council candidate Lael Gray.

“Hey Joe, this is Cecil Bothwell: I’m calling to tell you you’re full of shit,” the message begins. Bothwell asserted that he has extensive small business experience, that Dunn’s letter lied and that he was “an absolute piece of crap,” adding “I am offended, offended, offended that someone who’s been on Council could crap on someone like this… you are beneath contempt.” It ends by saying Dunn should “go away.”

“From day one my campaign slogan has been ‘Vote Bold.’ I’ll accept legitimate criticism, but I’ll fight tooth and nail against lies,” Bothwell writes to Xpress about the message. “Joe Dunn lied about me and my record and I stood up for myself the way I’ll stand up for the people of Western North Carolina.”

In another e-mail to Xpress, Bothwell noted that “yes, I used strong language in a private message. It’s my view that a former City Council member should have more respect for the office. Lying about other Council members is reprehensible. Furthermore, I filed a complaint with the Citizen-Times for publishing a letter containing obvious falsehoods about me and about Council candidate Lael Gray. They should set higher journalistic standards.”

Dunn’s letter, which ran Oct. 5, read as follows:

Cecil Bothwell has, in my opinion, once again showed his total ignorance as to how a small business might work. Since he has never developed a successful business of his own, and loves to see his name in print, he decided to attack Jan Davis for providing tire service for the ABC vehicle fleet. He has retracted his statements, but I feel his intent to smear the good name of Davis was obvious. Mr. Bothwell, along with the new slate of left leaning progressive candidates for council, do not reflect the mainstream of thinking for the majority of Asheville citizens. Candidate Lael Gray has stated that automobiles need to be eliminated from city streets. Asheville voters need to ask candidates Pelly, Gray, and Hunt one simple question. “What portion of the city budget do they plan to cut in order to pay for their special agendas during the economic downturn?” Will it be police, firefighters, or basic city services? Or will higher taxes be their agenda?

Dr. Joe Dunn, Asheville
Dunn is a former Asheville city councilman

An edited version of the voice message was highlighted by former radio host Matt Mittan earlier today, when he linked to it on his Twitter account, noting it came from “an annomous [sic] constituent.”

When asked about the link by Xpress, Bothwell said it was “a heavily edited recording which doesn’t reflect what I told Dr. Joe Dunn who lied about me in a letter to the AC-T.”

Conservative blogger Bobby Coggins (Thunderpig) posted the full, un-edited version of the message earlier this morning, and Bothwell commented on his site:

“I admit, I was furious. I actually think it’s pretty funny that Joe decided to share the message,” before continuing. “I was pissed at Dunn and at the paper for printing lies about me and about Lael’s platform. Should I be more reserved in personal communication with a liar and a slanderer? Maybe so.”

Gray responded to Dunn’s criticisms in an Oct. 10 message to her supporters.

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35 thoughts on ““You are beneath contempt:” Bothwell voicemail to Dunn leads to fracas

  1. Jake

    Tell it, Cecil. Dunn was out of touch when he ran for mayor, and that was six years ago. His cranky letter to the AC-T begged for a response, and I am glad (though hardly surprised) that it was Cecil Bothwell who had the courage to provide it. Calling out Dunn for spreading obvious lies is exactly what needed to be done.

  2. lance

    Give em hell, Cecil. Typical conservative tactic: portraying an effort to encourage people to drive less into a tax hike, or worse cutting city services. Thanks for calling them out.

  3. Doug Sahm

    What’s the problem here? Dunn lied about Bothwell in a very cowardly way and he received an angry phone call about it, as he should have. My opinion of Bothwell has actually grown due to this incident. I like how he has no problem confronting someone spreading lies to the people of Asheville.

  4. Barry Summers

    Joe Dunn is a crank. He was a crank when he was on Council. And he recently contributed $250 to Jan Davis’ campaign. His lies about Cecil not knowing anything about small business and Jan’s Council competitor Lael Gray wanting to “eliminate automobiles from city streets” are the sort of cheap shots we get in the Silly Season here in Asheville. Cecil was right to respond. And he’s right about one other thing.

    Joe Dunn should go away.

    • wncguy

      What does the contribution to Jan Davis have to do with anything…they don’t agree on much of anything. Lets keep it about how Joe Dunn was out of line.

    • Barry Summers

      What does the contribution to Jan Davis have to do with anything…

      Read the second half of Joe’s letter. The whole point of his dishonest attack on Cecil and Lael Gray was to do damage to Hunt, Gray, and Pelly. If all this was about was Cecil’s criticism of Davis, then his letter would’ve been three sentences long. But no, he turned into a broadside against all things liberal, trying to advance Jan in the Council race. That makes his contribution relevant.

  5. The Trolls Troll

    Get a load of Cecil attempting to preach about journalistic standards. This is the same guy who didn’t see a problem campaigning for a city council candidate (Elaine Lite, I believe) while working as a reporter for Xpress.

    • cecilbothwell

      Actually, I contributed to Lite’s campaign after clearing it with the publisher. It was public, legal and transparent, and I was on the County beat so I was not reporting on either City business or on the City campaign.

      Far better, I think, to be open about one’s preferences and then be judged as to the fairness and accuracy of one’s reporting, than to quietly color one’s reporting while keeping the lamp under a bushel basket.

    • Jake

      Except that he didn’t campaign for Elaine Lite. Cecil’s sin in 2007 was to [gasp] donate money to Elaine’s campaign.

      Cecil has proven himself a superb journalist (and Bobby “Pure Bunkum” Medford’s still in jail, right?). So, better luck next time with your attack.

  6. Lamont Cranston

    Cecil:

    Good for you, sir. Give the jerk both barrels for his slander and deceitful comments.

    “LC”

  7. Angela Leonard

    Go get ‘em Cecil. For too long progressives have sidestepped conservative, right wing attacks. Trying to be polite and reasonable has gotten us nowhere. When someone lies about you and your positions, I think it is just fine to call them out. Rough language? – don’t play in the big leagues, Joe, if you can’t take it.

  8. TruthSpeaker

    Go, Cecil! What I like about Bothwell is his willingness to express basic truths about politics that most of us say to each other every day, but rarely hear public figures say at all. And now, when faced with lies about him and Lael Gray, he took his response directly to the source, and called the calculated disinformation exactly what it is: not-ready-for-primetime excrement.
    That’s exactly how I expect an honest man to react. Now let’s see the media respond with a retraction.

  9. Bjorn

    “I’ll fight tooth and nail against lies’- Cecil is exactly who we need to send to DC!

  10. Mr Clean

    Cecil is the drum major for all the fruits and nuts in Asheville.

  11. john5

    Cecil, your vulgar words to Joe Dunn reflect poorly on you, not him. You have disrespected yourself. Yes, stick to the issues and defend your positions– but leave your holier-than-thou trash talk at home, please. Man up instead of child-up.

  12. Phillip

    Doesn’t take much for people in this City to get down in the sewer with the rest. Cesspool anyone?

    • bill smith

      How so? Should we all be held accountable for Dunn’s actions?

  13. D. Dial

    How sneaky is Matt Mittan…while touting himself as the “truth bearer?”

    • Buncy

      Mittan went on Twitter and used the un-word “annonous.” If I were going to bruise English that badly, I’d want to be “annonous” too.

      Poor thing. Where did he go to school?

      As for Cecil Bothwell, I’d stand in a line a mile long to vote for him. I’d also stand in a line two miles long to vote against Jan Davis or Joe Dunn.

  14. Curious

    Bothwell says Dunn lied about him in his letter. Could someone enlighten those of us not on the inside what portion of Dunn’s letter was untruthful? Hard to know what this issue is all about.

  15. cecilbothwell

    J – Matt posted an edited version of the voicemail, and claimed that he obtained it anonymously. He indicated that I had made the call to some “unknown” person – rather than Joe Dunn, whom I know well and for many years.

    Curious: Here’s Dunn’s LTE.
    “Cecil Bothwell has, in my opinion, once again showed his total ignorance as to how a small business might work. Since he has never developed a successful business of his own, and loves to see his name in print, he decided to attack Jan Davis for providing tire service for the ABC vehicle fleet. He has retracted his statements, but I feel his intent to smear the good name of Davis was obvious. Mr. Bothwell, along with the new slate of left leaning progressive candidates for council, do not reflect the mainstream of thinking for the majority of Asheville citizens. Candidate Lael Gray has stated that automobiles need to be eliminated from city streets. Asheville voters need to ask candidates Pelly, Gray, and Hunt one simple question.

  16. Betty

    LMAO. Cecil spews on others, but doesn’t like it directed at himself.

  17. john5

    Cecil, I seem to remember a few public tiffs you’ve had with Matt Mittan. This sounds so similar, accusing those who point out discrepancies and who question you of lying, inventing reality, acting sorely grieved (“And I won’t tolerate that…”) Seems like a awful lot that you won’t tolerate. Now, do you have any outraged, curse words for me, too? Huh?

  18. shadmarsh

    I don’t mind my elected officials having a little fire in the belly, nor do I mind them calling out other people’s BS, but the whole calling a guy to leave a tirade on his answering machine bothers me. It’s lacking in class, dignity, and maturity, three things I’d also like my elected officials to possess.

    • john5

      Agree, Cullen. Public discourse is essential. But it’s not just about the issues, it’s how one conducts themself and treats others. Which is why I have little respect for Mr. Bothwell.

  19. D. Dial

    John5, you’r eobviously one of the Bothwell haters. And bottom line is “haters gonna hate.”

    Personally I’m all for an individual directly confronting a beneath contempt, lying, obfuscator.

  20. john5

    @dial-Sorry I don’t hate Cecil, don’t even know him. I’ve found that when someone starts name-calling(as you have done and Mr. Bothwell has done), their credibility tends to disappear. Do you have anything of substance to say? Or do you have more trash-talk for me as well–to prove my point?

  21. cecilbothwell

    John5, My “tiffs” with Mittan concerned him inventing facts about me and, naturally, broadcasting them. I don’t look for fights. But I take wide exception to public figures lying about my positions or statements. I make no apology for voicing my opinions, and have no problem with others expressing opinions about my positions. But you aren’t allowed to invent facts. That simply stinks.

  22. James Sheeler

    I have been around for over 6 decades. I have seen a lot of community, political, and “inside local government stuff”. I think Asheville is fortunate to have the energy, knowledge, intellect, and core honesty of Cecil Bothwell. He is an investigative reporter at heart. And he will speak up if “the king has no clothes on”, if a sheriff (or an ABC board administrator) is hurting us, or if a potentially influential someone presents a material distortion to suit his own purposes. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for Cecil.

  23. Matt Mittan

    Cecil you wrote: “My ‘tiffs’ with Mittan concerned him inventing facts about me and, naturally, broadcasting them. ”

    When have I done that? Care to elaborate? Even on this story… all we did was link to somebody’s website that had posted up the edited audio, through social media, and asked what people thought about it. That’s it.

    You wrote on this thread, “Matt posted an edited version of the voicemail, and claimed that he obtained it anonymously. He indicated that I had made the call to some ‘unknown’ person – rather than Joe Dunn, whom I know well and for many years.”

    I did no such thing… We saw the brewing storm and the questions around it and merely pointed at it and asked what people knew/thought about it.

    Talk about inventing facts… Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

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