Document 35754

Stephen P au! Lindsay
Email: [email protected]
(828) 551.6446
(828) 628.9855
90 Eagle Crest Way
Fairview, North Carolina 28730
Tuesday, July 17,2012
Ms. Beth A. Wood
State Aud itor
2 S. Salisbury Street
20601 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0601
Mr. Timothy J. Hoegemeyer
General Counsel
North Carolina State Auditor
2 S. Salisbury Street
20601 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0601
John Ledford, Director of N.C. A.L.E.
VIA FAX to: 919-807-7647
Dear Ms. Wood and Attorney Hoegemeyer::
Please be advised that Durham attorney Kerstin Walker Sutton and I have been
retained by Director Ledford to represent him against you and your agency. This
representation arises out of the recent "audit" performed by your office and the
subsequent publication of said "audit" by you. In addition to merely publishing the
"audit," you prepared and published a video concerning Director Ledford and the
"audit" which you caused to be placed on your agency's website.
It is our position that the "audit" and your website video make false
allegations/conclusions that constitute libel and/or slander. Furthermore, as these
allegations and conclusions go to Director Ledford in his chosen profession, they
constitute libel/slander per se. Governmental immunity, if any, is a qualified
privilege at best and actions that fall outside of the course and scope of an elected
official's position become actionable.
In addition to constituting libel and slander per se, it is our position that your "audit"
became an internal employment issue when your recommendations focused on
specific individuals. You also made specific recommendations regarding discipline
of these individuals by the agency. This being the case, and as we are sure you
must be aware, personnel matters are required by law to be kept confidential
pursuant to N.C.G.S § 126-24. The publication by you of the audit and the website
video violate this statutory prohibition, as well as the express prohibition against
general dissemination found in N.C.G.S. § 147-64.6(c)(14).
The purpose of this letter is to make a formal demand that you cease and desist
from any further publication of the "audit" and that the video be immediately
removed and published no further by you or your office. Given that you are now
on formal notice of our contentions, if you fail to cease and desist, opting instead
to go forward with continued publication, be on notice that such shall be an
additional basis for seeking punitive damages in these matters.
We note that there remains outstanding a formal request by our client that your
agency provide him with certain public records. We refer you to your letter dated
September 30, 2011, a copy of which is attached for your convenience. The
requested materials shall be delivered to us, as Mr. Ledford's counsel, forthwith
pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 132-6. Further delays by your agency in providing said
information will result in a motion to compel production and a claim for attorneys'
fees pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 132-9.
In the event you have counsel representing you please have them contact us.
Kerstin W. Sutton
®ffit~ cf tIr~ ~hth
Beth A. Wood, CPA
State Auditor
2 S. Salisbury Street
20601 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0601
Telephone: (919) 807-7500
Fax: (919) 807-7647
September 30,2011
C. John Ledford, Director
North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement
4704 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4704
Dear Mr. Ledford:
This letter is in response to your letter dated September 28,2011 in which you made a
public records request of the North Carolina Office of the State Auditor seeking various
documents. The purpose of this letter is to confirm to you that we have received your
request and are in the process of reviewing it and we will gather all unprivileged and nonconfidential material within your request and notify you when it is ready for your review
and/or confirm where you want the documents sent.
If you should have any questions, concerns, or further requests, please don't hesitate to
contact me.
General Counsel
Reuben Young, Secretary, NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety
Casandra White, General Counsel