Who's Running Where

Upcoming Political Series


Winston Salem State University


In Theaters December 4

For Goodness Sake

Upcoming 2016 Elections


North Carolina Central University

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Man Steals Money from Wilson Co. Dem Party

Man drains Dem. Party account
While restitution made, official seeks settlement

Couertesy > The Wilson Times /

The Wilson County Democratic Party says a local man, claiming to be doing work for Democratic candidates, emptied their bank account, leaving them overdrawn at the bank to the tune of $500, which included all fees assessed.

Asa Gregory, chairman of the local party, said BB&T began negotiations with them and had even come to an agreement but has since declined to reimburse them for the stolen money.

Gregory said it was by accident that their treasurer, Barbara Dantonio, found out the political party’s bank account was empty.

“A man broke into our treasurer’s house and he stole a checkbook and he went to the Stantonsburg branch of BB&T bank and he cashed several checks — 11 in total, some twice a day,” Gregory said. “Of course we didn’t know about it. We didn’t have online banking or checking and we didn’t have a reason to check it.”

Gregory said the accused man, Daniel Ray Wilson, 53, had once lived in the house with Dantonio but was put out of the house and no longer had access.

“He went in there (BB&T) and said he was doing work for the Democratic Party to get Calvin Woodard elected again,” Gregory said. “Obviously Sheriff Woodard is not up to be re-elected until 2014.”

Stantonsburg Police Chief John Hunt said there were warrants served on Wilson in the earlier part of the year for the incident.

Gregory said Wilson has agreed to pay restitution for what has stolen, and has paid back around $400 of the approximate $1,400 that was stolen out of the bank account.

Wilson, who has a long conviction history, had been charged with forgery and uttering, larceny and misdemeanor breaking and entering.

Dantonio is no longer the treasurer for the Wilson County Democrat Party.

Gregory said he isn’t satisfied with the way BB&T handled the party as a customer.

“We discovered what happened and we took measures to talk to people to get it rectified,” Gregory said. “I talked with people for several months to get this rectified because I felt like it was BB&T’s job and it is BB&T’s job to protect the assets of its clients.”

He said the checking account requires two signatures and there was only one signature on the checks. Gregory said the one signature they got was forged and the teller should have noticed that.

He said the signature looked different on each of the checks cashed.


“BB&T cannot comment on the particulars of this matter due to the confidentiality of the settlement,” said David R. White, vice president of corporate communications. “BB&T addressed this issue with an attorney representing the Wilson County Democratic Party.”

But White did say even though the Democratic Party said it requires two signatures for each check, two signatures are not part of BB&T’s policy.

“Generally speaking, however, a client’s business procedure that two individuals must act jointly to perform banking transactions, such as a two-signers requirement for checks, are for the client’s internal purposes only and are not binding on the bank,” White said. “Under the terms of the BB&T banking service agreements applicable to deposit accounts, the bank has no duty or obligation to monitor or comply with any such two-signer requirement.”

Gregory contends bank personnel should have checked the signatures.

“The main teller at Stantonsburg branch never checked the signature card on file, which would have taken her all of five seconds, I would say.”

Gregory said BB&T offered a settlement agreement.

“It was half the amount that was taken from the party, and then we would be able to collect from the individual the restitution and then anything over that would go to BB&T — which I agreed to, that was fine, that makes sense,” Gregory said.

Gregory said he worked with attorneys from the North Carolina Democratic Party on the settlement agreement with the bank.

“I got the paperwork he told me I needed to sign – I signed it, I shipped it, he looked it over and even found a mistake on one of my pages,” Gregory said. “And so I printed that one page out to fix it. Sent it back to him. Went to them — they didn’t sign it.”

Gregory said Dantonio did protect the checkbook.

“I think she protected it,” Gregory said. “She kept it in her house, locked up in her house. And this guy didn’t have access to her house. He did live there for a time, but he had left the house.”

Gregory said based on rules he is aware of, they are not at fault and definitely not negligent. Gregory said a friend may know where another person keeps their checkbook in a house, but if they break into the person’s house and steal it, it’s not negligence on the part of the victim. It is a criminal act by the person who broke in, Gregory said.

A spokesman from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said they can’t speak to this particular case, but did say that banks usually buy insurance that protects them from bank robberies or customers whose money was stolen.

“If a customer doesn’t like the outcome of their bank’s decision about their account, they can take their complaint to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC),” said LaJuan Williams-Young, spokesperson for the FDIC.

Williams-Young said their OCC’s function is to act as mediator.

The Democratic Party has opened an account with Cornerstone Bank.


Gregory said he never kept this incident away from the public’s eye nor did he try to hide what happened to the Democrat’s banking account.

“The officers of the party are handling the situation, and that’s our business,” Gregory said. “For those who are members of the county executive committee, we were trying to resolve this. We didn’t necessarily expect this to be in the paper before we had a meeting. But we will have a meeting to address this with them.”

Gregory said the party is paying its bills.

Democrats are now planning their annual SLOB (Silver Lake Oyster Bar) fund raiser. The group usually holds this event as a way to be able to support campaigning for Democratic candidates.

The SLOB was not held last year,

This time Dewey Sheffield and Mark Bibbs, who is running for N.C. House District 8 seat, are co-chairs for the event.

Wilson, the man accused for cashing those checks, has an extensive arrest record dating back from 1986 up to 2012. Convictions include forgery, multiple assault on a female charges, unauthorized use motor conveyance, larceny, DWI levels 1, 2 and 3, obtaining property-worthless checks, cheat-property/services, communicating

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Candidate Clarence Bender

Democrat challenging Buck Newton
Bender says he's gotten cold shoulder by own party locally

Courtesy > The Wilson Times / Staff Writer 

Democratic candidate running for the N.C. Senate District 11 seat, Clarence Bender, said he’s in this election to win victories for the people of North Carolina, particularly those who haven’t had their voices heard.

Bender is running against Republican Sen. Buck Newton. Newton is running for a second term.

“Everybody should feel as if they have a voice and the ear of their representatives,” Bender said. “But as we all know, there are some people who just keep getting looked over. They have to be included in Raleigh when laws are made.”

Bender, who resides in Castalia, said he understands what it is like to be overlooked. He said he really feels that in Wilson County by those who are in his party,

“I was told by other Democrats that I would never get their support and I get the cold shoulder in Wilson County,” Bender said. “I am the Democratic nominee, but I don’t feel the support here in Wilson. Sometimes when there is a party at a home to raise funds for another candidate, I am allowed to come to the party, but I can’t get anyone to give me one of those parties. That is how many of our citizens feel when it comes down to the political process – left out.”

But he said even without support, he has been out shaking hands and talking to people about the issues they believe are important.

“As I go out talking to people, I hear as common topics the concern for jobs, how bad the economy is doing and that they want their children to get a solid education,” Bender said. “So those are the areas I would work in if I am elected.”

Bender said with a son diagnosed with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, he has seen first hand what does not happen for children in public schools.

“Lots of poorer counties get less money and teachers can’t be trained in those special areas because there is no money,” Bender said. “Those teachers need access to the training and the students need teachers trained in the latest techniques.”

Bender said the more money that is cut from the school budget, the worse it is for children.

“When they cut the budget, teachers’ aides are cut from the classrooms,” Bender said. “If there are 20 or more students and the teaching assistant is gone, then we have children who are overlooked.”

Bender said he would like to see smaller class sizes. He said he would also like to see more opportunities to have more math and science taught in classrooms.

“If our children are going to compete globally, and the children they are competing against have the foundation, our children will lose,” Bender said.

Bender points out that according to statistics, countries like Finland, China and Korea have students outranking U.S. students.

“We need better and more competitive salary and packages and health benefits so we can keep our teachers in place,” Bender said. “Our state employee turnover rate is too high. I was reading something from our state that said we could save 3 to 4 hundred million dollars a year if we could keep our employees in place after they are trained with the state.”

Bender said if elected, he would concentrate on creating jobs for the state.

He said one way is to help those people who want to start small businesses.

“I have been a small business owner before, and it can be tough,” Bender said. “But if we strengthen small business and give them the incentives we give big business, it will help all around the state,” Bender said. “Small businesses should be able to band together and get health insurance for themselves and their employees.”

Bender said big businesses get big tax breaks and small businesses need the big tax breaks, too.

He said the Small Business Association should be more accessible to small businesses.

“Some smaller cities don’t embrace small businesses like they should,” Bender said. “But when we support them, they can hire more people and make local economies stronger.”

Bender said he is definitely going to connect with every legislator who wants to do something about the high energy bills.

“Nobody’s electric bill should be bigger than their mortgage,” Bender said. “I have talked to Wilson citizens who work every day and still have to use candles so they can afford to pay their electric bill. A lot of businesses have shut down because they can’t afford the bill.”

Bender said it doesn’t take much to understand that if small businesses are closing because of high utility bills, and we need small businesses to strengthen the economy, then the issue needs to be addressed.

“The big bills aren’t helping the people we need to move things along,” Bender said. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Raleigh Road to Re-Open

With fingers crossed, by tomorrow, the N.C. Department of Transportation will reopen the intersection of ACC Drive, Raleigh Road and Corbett Avenue and finish the conversion of Raleigh Road from a one-way to two-way street, from Hines Street to Gold Street, said Bryant Bunn, an engineer with the city of Wilson.

Apology Emerges

Ellis Williford, County Manager

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to you and the other members of the board for any embarrassment I may have caused as a result of my use of inappropriate language on the night of July 9th, 2012” as Williford reads from a prepared statement during the County Commissioners meeting on Monday evening August 6th.
“I would also like to apologize to all the residents of the county for which I have had the honor of serving as manager for the past 19 years, for failing to conduct myself to the high standard which is expected of an appointed official. In addition I would also like to apologize to the employees of Wilson County for failing to conduct myself in the manner of which they have always demonstrated when involved with difficult situations.”  
Staff Writer/ Janet Conner-Knox
Photo/Brad Coville/Wilson Times