Local News

Indicted Perdue donor to resign from college board

Posted February 9, 2011 4:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2011 10:06 p.m. EST

— A Morganton man indicted Tuesday in a state investigation into Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign finances was expected to resign Wednesday as a member of the Western Piedmont Community College board, officials said.

Robert Lee Caldwell was charged with one count of felony obstruction of justice.

Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey said Caldwell was expected to submit his resignation by the end of the day, but she couldn't say whether anyone in Perdue's administration asked him to step down.

Former Gov. Mike Easley appointed Caldwell to the Western Piedmont board in 2002 and again in 2006, and Perdue reappointed him last year.

An indictment handed up by a Wake County grand jury alleges that Caldwell obtained a campaign donation from a man named James Fleming and then reimbursed Fleming with money from an unidentified source. Caldwell then used Fleming's check to pay Profile Aviation to fly Perdue to a campaign stop, according to the indictment.

Caldwell told Perdue's campaign committee that the plane trip was an in-kind donation from Fleming, knowing that was false, the indictment states. The campaign then included that incorrect information in its campaign finance filings.

A campaign spokesman said Tuesday that Perdue and campaign officials knew nothing about the illegal contribution.

State and federal authorities continue to investigate Perdue's campaign finances for possible criminal charges in connection with dozens of unreported flights aboard donors' planes during the 2004 and 2008 campaigns.