GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A local attorney and blogger is calling on the Pitt County Board of Elections to investigate who’s behind published derogatory statements under anonymous pseudonyms that he says is in violation of state law.
Hugh Cox filed the municipal election complaint on October 19th. Read the entire complaint here
The complaint accuses Greenville mayor Allen Thomas and candidate Terry Boardman of posting derogatory statements and campaigning anonymously using published internet forums. It specifically cites published derogatory statements by anonymous writers using the pseudonyms “LJac” and ‘Jack1919” about opposing candidates with the intent to change the city election outcome.
Cox’s complaint compares authenticated writings by Mayor Thomas to those of “LJac”. It claims the comparison shows good cause and sufficient evidence to investigate whether the Mayor violated NC General Statute § 163-274(a)(7) by publishing derogatory charges against opponents on the city council and while attempting to affect the election using a “strawman” pseudonym.
In a Daily Reflector Internet message dated August 14, 2015, “LJac” called a citizen, “Little Calvin”, referred to the citizen as “climbing out from their rock to spew childish antics” and labeled such writers as “eaten up with hate.” Leading up to the election filing and prior to the period for filing for municipal election, “LJac” posted numerous derogatory messages about opponent council members.
Allen Thomas told WNCT the allegations are completely false, and he wouldn’t validate them by giving a comment. He said his focus remains on moving Greenville forward.
The same complaint calls for the Board of Elections to investigate Boardman for publishing derogatory charges against opposing city council members while using a “strawman” pseudonym, “Jack1919”.
The “LJac” identity is unknown, but Boardman claims that he openly uses “Jack1919” and is recognized by this pseudonym. Boardman told WNCT he used the name as a way to remember his father, Jack, who was born in 1919. Cox disagrees with that assumption and calls on the Board of Elections to require both “LJac” and “Jack 1919” to identify themselves as required by law.
“I want the Board of Elections to investigate this pseudonym complaint and require “LJac” and “Jack1919” to identify themselves.” Cox said. “If Mayor Thomas and Mr. Boardman are using pseudonyms in violation of law, they should be required to write under their legal names.”
Boardman said this is just a move by a man who opposes his campaign.
“I think it’s malarkey,” Boardman said. “It’s dirty politics and I’ll go through the process, but I’m not worried one iota.”
The local board has asked the state board of election for advice on handling the complaint. Dave Davis with the Pitt Co. BOE said a hearing likely won’t take place until after election day.