Carolina Journal News Reports
Gov. Bev Perdue associates Juleigh Sitton, top, and Buzzy Stubbs turned themselves in at the Wake County jail Nov. 30. Their court dates are scheduled in March.
RALEIGH — A former aide to Gov. Bev Perdue and a close friend of the governor have March dates in Wake County Superior Court to respond to felony charges related to their fundraising activities for Perdue’s 2008 campaign. A third person indicted on felony charges related to Perdue campaign fundraising has not had his initial court date scheduled. A fourth Perdue associate, Greensboro businessman Peter Reichard, worked out a felony plea in December.
Julia Leigh Sitton of Morganton, also known as Juleigh Sitton, is scheduled to appear March 5. Sitton, an attorney, worked for the 2008 campaign and later ran the governor’s Western North Carolina office.
Trawick “Buzzy” Stubbs of New Bern, also an attorney, is scheduled to appear the following Monday, March 12. Stubbs was the law partner of Perdue’s late former husband. His eight-member law firm continues to bear the name Stubbs & Perdue.
Robert Lee Caldwell of Morganton was indicted in February 2011 on similar charges, but he has not been scheduled to appear in court.
Sitton, Stubbs, and Reichard — a former Perdue campaign finance director — were indicted on felony charges by a Wake County grand jury Nov. 28.
Reichard was charged with funneling $32,000 from Morganton businessman Charles M. Fulenwider through a business Reichard owns to pay a portion of Sitton’s salary with the Perdue campaign. Fulenwider already had given the maximum $8,000 allowed during the primary and general election cycles.
Stubbs, a registered Republican and longtime donor who has given primarily to GOP candidates, is accused of funneling $28,000 through his law firm to pay for aircraft to fly Perdue to campaign events during 2007 and 2008. The free flights were not reported on campaign finance reports, resulting in a number of campaign finance law violations.
Caldwell, a former chairman of the board of Western Piedmont Community College, was charged with causing the Perdue campaign committee to file false reports and obstruction of justice.
Caldwell’s indictment states that he solicited and accepted a check from James Fleming, a Morganton barber, in the amount of $3,048.50 to pay for a chartered aircraft for Perdue. Caldwell then reimbursed Fleming for the check with money that came from an unidentified third party — a violation of campaign law. Fulenwider, an acquaintance of Caldwell, originally was invoiced for the flight.
Reichard worked out a plea agreement with Wake Count District Attorney Colon Willoughby in December. Reichard entered an Alford plea, an arrangement allowing a defendant to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to win a jury trial. Reichard agreed to pay a $25,000 fine and serve two years’ probation. After the hearing, he issued a statement that he would not be talking to reporters.
To see related stories on the investigation of the Perdue campaign, click here.
Don Carrington is executive editor of Carolina Journal.