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BCGOP fires Yelton from its leadership
Monday, 16 July 2012 17:33
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SKYLAND — The Buncombe County Republican Party voted on June 25 to remove Don Yelton from “all positions of (BCGOP) leadership,” including its executive committee, prompting a former party chairmqn — and other Yelton sympathizers — to resign from the executive committee.

The action occured during a lengthy — and stormy — closed meeting at the Skyland Fire Department.

In a brief interview a few days later, Yelton told the Daily Planet that he would challenge the decision in court and that it looks like “it’s going to Raleigh” to the state GOP to be heard under appeal.

Past BCGOP Chairman Chad Nesbitt told a Daily Planet reporter waiting outside, “I just witnessed the Democratic Party in there ...” 

A furious Robert Malt, a recent BCGOP chairman, left the meeting, noting, “I resigned” from the executive commitee.” Fellow Republican Gary Shoemaker, right behind him, added, “Me, too!”

Yelton had been served with an official written notice, dated May 22 and signed by Henry D. Mitchell, BCGOP chairman, that Mitchell would seek to remove him from his party leadership positions for the following two reasons:

• “Your failure and inability to perform the duties of your office due to your confrontational approach, your inability to curb your temper, your repeated distruption of meetings and your personal attacks and insults of other members — both during meetings and outside of meetings as well as other factors that render you unable to perform your duties.

• “Disloyalty to the Republican Party, including engaging in negative campaigning against Republican candidates.”

Meanwhile, Yelton told the Daily Planet on July 5 of the recent BCGOP executive committee meeting, “It was not really a hearing, it was a lynching.”

He said he could not attend the hearing because he had to teach an environmental science class at Montreat College that night. (He is a part-time professor of environment science in the school’s SPAS program, he noted.)

As for his next action, Yelton said, “I am appealing their decision to Raleigh, to the state Republican Party.”

His case “first and foremost” will focus on the precedure that, he said, “was done illegally ... They didn’t mail me the notice. They delivered it to me?”

He then told of receiving a call from J.B. Howard, the Republican candidate for chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, who said he needed to talk to Yelton.Yelton said he was at Asheville Chevrolet, where Howard soon appeared and, in Yelton’s words, “walked up, smiling and handed me an envelope and asked me to sign for it. I said I wasn’t going to sign a damned thing. He left it and walked off.

”Regarding Howard’s candidacy, Yelton asked, rhetorically, “How can you trust a candidate for Buncombe County commissioner when he represents what he did with me.”

Yelton declined to comment on “other issues” he said he will be addressing before the state GOP.

As for a contention by the BCGOP that Yelton, as a member of the executive committee, had endorsed former commissioners’ candidate Kevin King, Yelton said that did not happen.“Kevin King was not even a candidate,” he asserted. “He was trying to get qualified as a candidate. He is no longer a candidate.”

When King appeared on his TV show while still seeking to be a candidate, Yelton said, “I told him he was a good guy and that I support him.”

Yelton acknowledged that Malt and Shoemaker, both leaders of Buncombe Forward, had quit the executive committee. He also said Ed Oscata, a precinct chair for 15 years, had resigned from the committee.

“I am not a member of Buncombe Forward, but I’m friends with some of them, as they are with me,” Yelton said.As for his long-time, close friend Nesbitt, Yelton said, “Chad made it a point not to be involved and to give Henry a chance to do his thing” as party chairman. “He (Nesbitt) did make it a point that he felt the party was headed in the wrong direction,” after the decision was made to fire Yelton.

Following is the text of a letter Yelton sent via registered mail, return receipt requested, sent on July 5 to Robin Hayes, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party in Raleigh:

Dear Chairman Hayes:

I am writing this letter to officially notify you and anyone else concerned that I am appealing the decision made illegally by the Buncombe County Executive Committee.

Please answer the following as I prepare my defense:

1.   When and where will the meeting occur?

2.   Who will be required to be present?

3.   What number is required for the committee to make a ruling?  Is it 2/3 of the committee or a majority, or 2/3 of those that  show up?

4.  What is the ruling document, the County Structure or the State Plan of Organization? 

5.  If there is conflict in the plans which plan takes precedence?

6.  If neither structure nor plan addresses an issue does Robert’s Rules of Order become the guiding document?

7.  May I bring corroborating witnesses and if so, how many?

Please answer these questions as soon as possible as the answers are germain to my defense. I have also copied  David Sawyer, Neil Moore and Kim Canady. Thank you for your attention to this.


James “Don” Yelton


Meanwhile, Brenda Fryar, a member of the BCGOP executive committee who brought the charges against Yelton, said immediately after the decision was made to fire him that “if you’re going to make comments, make sure they’re truthful — and not just assumptions.”

In separate remarks, Shoemaker said after Yelton’s ejection, that he and Malt are “going to focus our efforts on getting conservatives elected. We’ve got better things to do with our lives” than deal with the BCGOP executive committee.

BCGOP Chairman Henry Mitchell had not comment after the stormy hearing, and he referred the Daily Planet to party Communications Director Nathan West for comments.

Regarding Yelton, West said, “He was removed from the official duties of the executive committee” from June 25 until March 2013.

While the vast majority of those present favored Yelton’s removal, West admitted that “11 or 12 votes were consistently pro-Don.”

As for the tenor of the hearing, West said, “It was tense. It was stressful with the tension. It really has brought to light the 11 or 12 votes who consistently voted for Don really haven’t been here till now.”

He added that “it’s really unfortunate that we” had to remove Yelton.

As the closed meeting wrapped up, West said Malt walked to the center of the room and said that, “in light of what’s gone on tonight,” he was quitting the committee. Others expressed the same sentiment.

“Then there was a group (of Malt opponents) who applauded as they walked out,”

Regarding Nesbitt’s departure, West said, “I’ve only seen Chad two or three times at the most since he stepped down” as party chairman.

“Henry ran the meeting and allowed Chad to speak,” West said. He confirmed that Malt resigned as a precinct chair, while Shoemaker resigned as a precinct vice chair.

Each side was given 12 minutes to present its case. The BCGOP used just six minutes to play an audio of Yelton’s show, while Yelton’s backers used their 12 minutes.

In the audio, West said, Yelton “took a shot at Nathan Ramsey and some other members of the executive commitee. (Yelton has repeatedly alleged that Ramsey did not get anything done for conservatives during his eight years as chairman of the Buncombe Board of Commissioners.)

“Chad presented their side. He said he was ashamed of the Republican Party ... The only thing he threatened was lawsuits — and that’s pretty common for them,” West said.

On a separate question about 81-year-old Dorothea Alderfer’s removal as the party’s parliamentarian and her replacement with an alleged disbarred attorney, West said, “While the timing might have been bad, Dorothea was a member of the executive commitee” and asking executive committee members to “hand out literature for Buncombe Forward candidates.”



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