Friday, September 04, 2015

What Nathan Miller Said in Court This Morning

"Judge, there's no doubt that this is about politics."

UPDATED with additional information

The "this" in lawyer Nathan Miller's statement to Special Superior Court Judge Jeff Hunt of Henderson County is his petition (on behalf of Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates) to "compel" Appalachian State University to turn over another 9,000 of Professor Stella Anderson's e-mails that were not released, either because they were (1) confidential personnel matters, or (2) privacy protected communications with students, or (3) personal communications, having nothing to do with University business and, as such, not a public record.

Miller admitted that the fishing expedition is political after it came out in court this morning that Nathan Miller personally had complained about Professor Anderson to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors just a few hours after Anderson et al. had filed a petition in October 2013 with the State Board of Elections to remove Republican members Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto from the local Board of Elections for cause.

And soon after that, here came Anne Marie Yates, represented by Nathan Miller, demanding all of Stella Anderson's e-mails and alleging that she had violated the law by politicking on the ASU server. The 10,000 e-mails turned over to Yates did not satisfy the Republican Chair, mainly because the wild allegations being tossed around were not sustained by the evidence.

Yates, blocking the camera phone
Judge Hunt took no action this morning. He asked all parties to file briefs with him, arguing whether Anderson is subject to NC GS 126.13, which prohibits political activity by a state employee. The Attorney General's office in a prior opinion stated that UNC system faculty are exempt from most sections of 126. Faculty are classified as "EPA" (meaning Exempt from the Personnel Act).

Faculty are subject to a UNC BOG policy that mirrors 126.13 provisions, but that is not a matter to be adjudicated in the courts. Complaints of violations have to be directed to the UNC Board Of Governors, which Miller did in Anderson's case in October 2013. There was a full investigation of his complaint, and Anderson was cleared of any wrongdoing. Miller keeps trying to conflate the Public Records Request and the political activity complaint, which Anderson's lawyer maintains he cannot (or should not be allowed to) do. His only recourse through the courts in on the Public Records Request alone.

Miller had apparently chosen to ignore the EPA exemption and has claimed in court -- he did so again this morning -- that he does not know "to this day" whether Anderson is a member of the ASU faculty. That was a laughable statement. It was pointed out to Judge Hunt that in his complaint to the Board of Governors in October 2013, Miller himself identified Anderson as a professor at ASU.

Months ago, after Judge Hunt was assigned to the case, he proposed that perhaps an independent "referee" could be appointed to review all the e-mails and reach a conclusion about whether they were "public records." Guess who Nathan Miller nominated as potential "independent referees." No, really, guess

Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four") and Rep. Jonathan Jordan. I'm not making that up. Those are the two "unbiased" men that Nathan Miller thought would be excellent arbiters to paw through thousands of private e-mails … the brother of Luke Eggers, against whom Stella Anderson had filed a petition for removal from the Board of Elections, and the highly partisan Republican who represents Watauga County in the General Assembly.

For tone deafness, you will nowhere find more tin than dwells within the ears of attorney Nathan Miller. And for a model of political vindictiveness, also look no further.


Upsydaisy said...

Don't forget his comment that what they were doing here in Watauga was the same thing they were doing to Hillary! Well, it's interesting that he admits it. Wondrous, in fact.

Anonymous said...

How can this guy still have a law license?

Anonymous said...

I really do wonder what the local GOP feel they will gain by perusing 9000 more emails from a professor. They are engaged in a phenomenal waste of time and money - taxpayer money. Shame on them.

Hillary said...

What has she got to hide? Is it the fact that she has been using her taxpayer supplied assets for political purposes in violation of the law? She certainly is entitled to any political opinions she has, but she is NOT entitled to use state equipment to advance her cause.

She should have had a personal server in her basement if she wanted to keep the public from seeing what she was doing with state equipment!

Oh Suzannah said...

Oh, Hillary (Nathan) ... coming from the man who defended Four Eggers' ghostwriting of everything bearing his brother Luke's name, that's pretty double-standardy, even for you.

Hillary said...

Sorry Suzannah (JW or PAM?) you are as wrong about my ID as you are about most things. But, when you are losing the argument, it's probably not a bad strategy to divert attention to other things.
So, tell me....are you in favor of EVERYONE using state equipment for their political causes? Or just Democrats?

Anonymous said...

To Hilary - the university has looked through the emails and determined that the NINE THOUSAND they did not release have information not relevant to Nathan Miller's witch hunt. This is an absurd waste of time - particularly since the BOE is highly partisan and doing what it can to disenfranchise many people in Boone.

Please tell me that Nathan Miller, who is Republican, choosing Four Eggers, a Republican who acts as county attorney, the former Board of Elections member with a brother still on the BOE, to be an "independent referee" is a decision without any political basis at all.

Nathan Miller took this to the BOG in 2013 - this is an extremely conservative board that just last year removed the UNC-system president for no stated reason - because the reasons were political and it's not good to publicly state that - it was one of the most awkward press conferences EVER when it was announced. And even that very conservative board ignored Miller.

Nathan Miller is on a witch hunt. A costly and burdensome witch hunt that does NOTHING to help Watauga County.

Anonymous said...

What Ms. Anderson has to "hide" are the emails to and from students whom she advises, I expect, since that's a major part of her job. I'm not at ASU, but I work with a number of students and they have the right to not have their private business perused by every political hack who wants to look. The emails were vetted by a university committee to weed that sort of email out, but that's apparently not enough for Mr. Miller....he wants to read everything.

If so, does that mean we can all start sifting through HIS mail - electronic and otherwise - as well, and read all about his personal life? His medical information? His problems and anxieties? Because I can guarantee that emails to a student advisor will have just that sort of information in them. And, personally, I think that's private!

Oh Suzannah said...

Dear Hillary,
Oh everyone EVERYONE! Let a thousand flowers blossom, even the stink weeds.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read everything myself. University time to do political business?? Sounds like grounds for dismissal to me. Hopefully our Chancellor will take the time and investigate. Feeling such people like Ms. Anderson should be canned and stand in the unemployment line for a while and see what it is like. Believe me it is not fun.

Jesse Steele said...

"If so, does that mean we can all start sifting through HIS mail - electronic and otherwise - as well, and read all about his personal life?"

Personally I would give my right you know what just for a peek into Nathan's backroom and illegal dealings with the various town councils around Watauga when the sales tax scheme to punish Boone because we made papa templeton cry came to light.

Good luck getting those records though, after all they were never meetings, just get togethers that happened to have politics discussed....

Anonymous said...

Jesse Steele, at least they were not having their meetings on our tax payers time.