Report offers details on PAC that backed council slate
By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Two dozen individuals, partnerships and businesses with interests in real estate development and property management donated more than $40,000 to a PAC that backed Greenville’s new mayor and all but one its council members.
A finance report submitted by Greenville Jobs Now to the State Board of Election & Ethics Enforcement on Nov. 30 showed the PAC spent more than $35,000 in support of Mayor P.J. Connelly and a slate of candidate including Brian Meyerhoeffer, Kandie Smith, Rose Glover, Will Bell, Darrell Hinnant and Will Litchfield. All were elected except for Hinnant.
Much of the PAC’s efforts focused on negative campaigning against mayoral candidate and former council member Calvin Mercer. Jobs Now spending combined with spending by Connelly outstripped Mercer’s spending $74,869 to $54,297, according to campaign finance reporting.
According to those reports, the committee raised a total of $43,324 during the last election cycle. As of Oct. 23, it had spent $35,042 on advertisements and campaign expenses. Connelly raised $44,287, and spent $39,827. Mercer raised $61,116 and spent $54,297.
Mercer and his supporters complained throughout the campaign that dark money was influencing voters. Candidates are required to provide a list of campaign donors and expenditures on two occasions prior to elections. Job Now also was required to submit documentation but failed to do so.
It was fined $500 by the State Board of Election & Ethics Enforcement in November. It subsequently paid the fine and issued reports, but not until well after the election. The Daily Reflector looked up the report last week.
Mercer and his supporters also complained that money from outside of Greenville was influencing the election because the only records available about Greeenville Jobs indicated it was registered to a Raleigh-based attorney.
In response to the complaints, a Carteret County political consultant working for the PAC announced the group would donate $10,000 to the charity of Mercer’s choice if Mercer could prove any of the funding came from outside of Pitt County.
Documents filed by Jobs Now clearly show its financial support is wholly from Greenville and Pitt County.
Of its roughly two dozen donors, the largest contributions came from Bill Clark Homes, Max Joyner and Derek Dunn, who donated $5,000 each to the committee.
The home building company was started in Greenville in 1977 by Bill Clark and has since expended throughout eastern North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Joyner is a former Greenville City Council member and current member of the East Carolina University Board of Trustees who is inolved in property development and insurance. Dunn is the president of Greenville Ready Mixed Concrete Inc.
Earlier documentation from the committee listed Joyner as the treasurer, but a report filed on Dec. 18 listed Byron Aynes, a financial consultant with the Overton Group, as treasurer. Aynes said he was brought on as the treasurer after the election and could not comment on any of the past dealings of the group nor its future intentions.
Of the money raised by Greenville Jobs Now, a majority came from property developers and services related to construction and development. All of the names and businesses listed in the reports are listed to Pitt County addresses.
AGL Capital LLC (Wes MacKenzie, president): $500
Aldridge & Southerland (Charles Southerland, president): $1,000
Bill Clark Homes: (William Clark, manager): $5,000
Delcor, Inc. (Larry Osborne, president): $4,000
Derek Dunn (contractor): $5,000
East Coast Grading & Utilities (David Vaughn, president): $2,000
Eastern Property Management LLC (Edward and William Blount, managers): $1,250
John Evans (construction materials/development): $1,000
Home Builders Supply (William Blount, president): $2,500
Steven Jones (attorney): $1,000
Max Joyner (insurance): $5,000
Kensington, Inc. (Ralph Tucker, president): $1,000
Keystone Property Management: (Information not available) $500
Melbourne Park 1-3 (Ralph Tucker): $2,100
OCE, Inc (Robert Sieed, president).: $1,000
Rocky Russel Construction (Rocky Russell, president): $500
Rosemont 5, LLC (Ralph Tucker, manager): $833.33
Eddie Stallings (real estate): $500
Jeffrey Stallings (finance): $1,000
Trafalgar LLC (Ralph Tucker, manager): $1,168
Tucker Company LLC (Information not available): $700
Tucker Rosemont (Ralph Tucker, manager) $700
WG Blount & Sons Farms (William Blount, president): $1,250
Woody Whichard (land developer): $2,000
Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth