Raleigh, N.C. — Three supporters of former Gov. Beverly Perdue pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges for improperly aiding her 2008 campaign.
Trawick Hamilton "Buzzy" Stubbs Jr., 70, of New Bern, pleaded guilty to providing Perdue more than $28,000 in undisclosed flights on his law firm's plane. A longtime friend of Perdue and the law partner of her late first husband, he provided the flights between January 2007 and November 2008 but billed them as in-kind donations to the North Carolina Democratic Party instead of to the Perdue campaign.
Robert Lee Caldwell, 74, of Morganton, used another man as a front to pay for a Perdue campaign flight and had her campaign record it as an in-kind donation from the other man.
The State Board of Elections fined Perdue's campaign $30,000 in 2010 for not reporting dozens of campaign flights aboard donors' planes during the 2004 and 2008 elections until late 2009.
Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby reviewed the elections board's investigation and sought indictments against several Perdue supporters. He said there was no evidence that implicated the former governor in any wrongdoing.
In addition to the campaign flights, three people were indicted as part of a scheme to pay for a campaign staffer under the table.
The staffer, fundraiser Julia Leigh Sitton, and former campaign finance chief Peter Reichard, already pleaded guilty, and the man who supplied the money, Charles Michael Fulenwider, 65, of Morganton, pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Fulenwider funneled $32,000 in 2007 and 2008 through Chapel Hill-based Tryon Capital Ventures LLC, where Reichard is an executive, for consulting services provided by Sitton. Prosecutors said the money actually augmented Sitton's salary while she worked on the 2008 campaign but was never reported as a campaign contribution.
Stubbs and Fulenwider were each fined $5,000 and Caldwell's fine was $500.
All three were ordered not to solicit money for any campaign, political action committee or political party.