The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

Board to Resolve CAA Case

Senior Board of Elections members Carl Piraneo and Bryan Crumpler are in the process of presenting their findings from an investigation begun by the board's former vice chairman, Fred Hill, after the Feb. 15 disqualification hearing involving CAA President Reid Chaney and his opponent Michael Songer.

Board Chairman Jeremy Tuchmayer confirmed Tuesday that two names were presented to the full board last week in connection with the "smoking gun" e-mail, later determined to be a forgery, that was presented as evidence by Songer in an effort to disqualify Chaney from the race.

Tuchmayer could not comment on the names, but senior Liz Gardner confirmed Tuesday that she and junior B.J. Talley, both Songer campaign workers, are the students in question and were assured by the board an opportunity to defend themselves. "They can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I was involved in the forgery," Gardner said. "There is no conclusive evidence that links anybody."

Gardner said she has no connections to the e-mail at all -- its creation or its delivery. "They can't prove it because I wasn't involved in the creation of the forged e-mail."

Talley could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The e-mail linked Chaney's campaign to an e-mail sent by a former Carolina Fever President and UNC alumnus Davin McGinnis that characterized Songer as dishonest and deceptive.

Under elections laws, any slanderous actions by a campaign could be considered grounds for disqualification.

Tuchmayer said the board will convene Monday to hear the rest of the evidence and then deliberate and write up the findings agreed upon by the board before the week's end.

Hill originally opened the investigations to determine the e-mail's origin.

And because the elections are well in the past and Chaney has been installed as CAA president, Tuchmayer said the board's persistence in the matter has mostly been to answer lingering questions. "Because the election was so long ago, it would be moot to take campaign or punitive action, but I imagine the board could take action if they wanted to."

Tuchmayer said the findings will be released and that the board's involvement likely will end there. "The board will probably publish something similar to a 'finding of fact' -- what the board believes to be true at this point," he said.

Tuchmayer said conclusion is needed to close the matter. "It's the board's (opinion) that it's gone on too long, and it's time to resolve this issue," he said.

"Because the investigation was launched, we have to close it, so our motivation is to reach finality with the whole CAA controversy."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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