Linda Wilkins-Daniels of Goldsboro, who was elected chairman of the Caucus last November, said a “complaint and petition to remove” Asheville’s Patsy Keever from the party chairmanship is the work of “five disgruntled members.”
“These people are a rogue group,” Wilkins-Daniels said. “They are trying to advance their own agenda and they are using dirty tricks to do it.”
In fact, further investigation and interviews by the Tribune indicate that the anti-Keever complaint and its trappings are the latest in a whole series of savage intra-party skirmishes going back at least as far as Keever’s election to the party chairmanship in February, 2015.
In mid-June a document in legal complaint format surfaced in state political circles. The document was printed on letterhead reading, “North Carolina Democratic Party Council of Review” and bearing the address “220 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603.” The Council of Review is the entity charged with examining intra-party complaints and the address is the state party’s official mailing address.
Issued at the same time was a press release which carries the heading, “Posted on June 12, 2016, African American Caucus NC Democratic Party, Patsy Keever Chair NC Democratic Party, Petition For Removal.”
The petition/complaint document looked sufficiently valid for the Tribune and several other news sources to take it at face value. But Daniels said the letterhead was forged and the complaint was printed on it to lend an air of authenticity.
The document alleges that Keever, as state chair, was responsible for “wrongfully and deliberately, if not illegally” conducting conventions in “unconstitutional congressional Districts.” In jumbled legalese, it goes on to say, “NCDP Chairperson Patsy Keever-Aycock’s wrongfully, direct/indirect, without authority, deliberately and recklessly imposed her personal and family designed racial discriminatory practices against the AAC-NCDP Auxiliary Caucus Administration and Operation [sic].” It does not explain what is meant by “personal and family designed racial discriminatory practices.”
Three petitioners are shown as initiating the action: Perry Graves of Reidsville, described as a member of AAC from Rockingham County; Valeria Conyers of Goldsboro, listed as “2nd Vice President” of the AAC; and Chenita Johnson of Winston-Salem, listed as “1st Vice President” of the Forsythe County AAC.
But, Wilkins-Daniels said, Graves “isn’t a member of the African American Caucus of Rockingham County. Per our bylaws the executive committee approves all county caucuses. Rockingham County didn’t seek approval and therefore [does] not [have] a legitimate caucus.”
Petitioner Conyers, Wilkins-Daniels said, “isn’t the 2nd Vice President of the AAC-NCDP. The legitimate 2nd Vice President is Phyllis Perry of Charlotte.” And petitioner Johnson “isn’t the 1st Vice President. The 1st vice president is Jaymes Powell.
As for the press release, it ultimately links to Dancy Communications Network, which is operated by Curmilus “Butch” Dancy II, whose online biography describes him as a former president of the Edgecombe County NAACP and “President of Dancy’s Professional Services where he specializes in barbecuing and video taping.”
In April of 2015 Keever dismissed the Council of Review’s then chairman, former Labor Commissioner John Brooks, alleging that Brooks had failed to comply with state party rules involving the rescheduling of a hearing. Keever replaced Brooks with North Carolina LGBT Democrats President Ryan Butler. Party officials declined to speculate this week as to what role, if any, Keever’s firing of Brooks might have played in the eventual circulation of the complaint over the Council of Review’s name.
The Tribune attempted to ask Dave Miranda, the state party’s communications director, how a document on a faked letterhead could survive public scrutiny, but Miranda only replied, “I told you yesterday that no such document ever came through the Executive Council of the North Carolina Democratic Party,” which was not the question. In an earlier conversation Miranda said he was “very pleased” to learn that the Tribune was pursuing the complaint story beyond its initial report (“Black Democrats demand removal of state chairman Patsy Keever,” June 23).
Asked why no action has been taken against the framers of the anti-Keever document, Wilkins-Daniels said, “A cease and desist order will be going out but an article such as [the previous Tribune article] encourages these people. I agree that an order should’ve gone out a long time ago but the past is not my concern. I am concerned about the present and going forward.
“The attorneys are waiting on your response to the article that was written stating that the AAC-NCDP asked Patsy Keever to step down. We do not appreciate a rogue group speaking for us and the perpetrators should’ve been dealt with long time ago, however, some believed that they should be ignored. I disagree,” Wilkins-Daniels said.
The Tribune, for its part, told Wilkins-Daniels it would report the AAC’s official response fully and completely, and that it will follow the story and report any further developments. Wilkins-Daniels did not mention why the AAC’s handling of the so-called complaint and its authors was dependent on the Tribune’s reportage.
Keever has not replied to questions from the Tribune.