The TFP wanted to continue our discussion about our first article, “Commissioner Jimmy Tate resigns. Was he ever a Pender County Resident in the first place?”
First, we’d like to address the allegations cited within the Port City Daily article, “Pender commissioner steps down citing ‘extreme hate,’ police reports indicate harassment by political opponents”.
The TFP was able to interview Ethan Baca who responded to the allegations outlined by Port City Daily.
The TFP would like to respond to the 2.5 page article written by Pender-Topsail Post & Voice, Thursday, February 16, 2023.
This was a very well-written attempt to refute our story, “Commissioner Jimmy Tate resigns. Was he ever a Pender County Resident in the first place?” and was written very persuasively. We do have some rebuttals to this article and would like to address some things outlined in the article.
First, let’s talk about Authority
The Post & Voice (P&V) cites, “According to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, Commissioners must reside in the county they serve, be a registered voter, and be at least 21 years of age. there are no other formal requirements and no term limits. ”
This is a great attempt to distract you from the entire point of this story and why this issue was even brought up in the first place by concerned citizens within Pender County and by the TFP. The (P&V) cites a private entity which confirms the narrative that Jimmy Tate was within the law when he was elected. The problem is that the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners isn’t the law in North Carolina surrounding residency issues and elections.
That authority is solely regulated by the General Statutes of North Carolina.
According to NC GS 163-57 line 3, “A person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of this State, into which that person comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making that county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district a permanent place of abode.”
How does authority relate to Jimmy Tate?
The NC GS provides a remedy to prove the allegation against Jimmy Tate. “[Citizens] has the burden to substantiate her challenge with ‘affirmative proof.'” G.S. 163-90.1.
This “affirmative proof” can include any item of evidence needed to help prove the case that Jimmy Tate has not met the requirements as outlined within GS 163-57.
In North Carolina, “State law provides no procedure for directly challenging an elected official’s residence…” the concerned citizens of Pender County were left to openly challenge Jimmy Tate.
The procedure to do this is not advertised or outlined and it is not common knowledge among voters. In order to officially challenge Jimmy Tate’s residency a citizen, “may use her [Beth Butler] statutory right to challenge your right to vote, based on your residency: ‘Any registered voter of the county may challenge the right of any person to register, remain registered or vote in such county.’ G.S. 163-85.”
Because this information is not available without substantial research and legal background, the voters of Pender County attended County Commissioner meetings and shared “affirmative proof” via social media to put this within the court of public opinion and pressure.
This affirmative proof is connected to the simple concept that Jimmy Tate never intended to make Pender County his permanent residence and therefore would not meet the qualifications outlined within GS 163-57 line 3.
While we do recognize that Jimmy Tate has deep connections within Pender County, we maintain his permanent residence is the property he owns located at 158 Candlestick Dr, Wallace NC 28466 AND he did not plan to stay in Surf City as a “permanent place of abode” as outlined within GS 163-57 line 3. Thus, he “shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county, municipality, precinct, ward, or other election district of this State, into which that person comes for temporary purposes only”.
North Carolina has established case law concerning intent. The North Carolina State Court of Appeals is clear on the subject, “We have not ignored defendant’s declarations concerning his [residence]. We must point out, however, that conduct is of greater evidential value than expressions of intent.” Farnsworth v. Jones, 114 N.C. App. 182, 189 (1994). This case outlines that even if someone states what they intend, it can be overridden by what they do.
The Pettigrew connection
The evidence provided in our first article is more than enough to cast a shadow of doubt on Jimmy Tate’s intentions regarding his permanent residency, but we understand the Post & Voice’s need to defend Jimmy Tate so vehemently. Andy Pettigrew has a long history with Jimmy Tate. Pettigrew served as a Trustee on the Mt. Calvary University Board in 2019. WECT Andy has featured, covered, interviewed, or included Jimmy Tate in a substantial amount of stories within the Pender-Topsail Post & Voice. While we understand that Jimmy Tate would naturally occur within stories about politics and business within the covered area of the paper, it does make one wonder if this is deeper than just naturally occurring journalism considering that Andy Pettigrew is the owner of the Post & voice according to the LLC filings of the company. This helps establish the overlap within the human terrain network at play within Pender County and contributes to more of the entire intelligence picture regarding this story and potential collusion to cover any “affirmative proof” presented against Jimmy Tate.
The evidence from the Mayor
The Post & Voice then challenges our “affirmative proof” with the statement, “Tate resides at this location on N. Topsial drive.” Then they write how the Mayor of Surf City, Teresa Batts submitted a letter from the town documenting that utility usage occurred at the 31 N. Topsail home. The Post & Voice doesn’t provide the document and therefore we can’t actually verify any claims made by Batts or answer any questions we have. Questions like, who’s name is listed, if any, with Mr. Tate? Has the account been closed? Etc. This creates more uncertainty surrounding the claim that Mr. Tate permanently resided at 31 N topsail Dr. and opens up the possibility that his intent was not to become a permanent resident but rather temporarily.
Post Office Box?
Jimmy Tate has a P.O. Box listed as the address for his Campaign in Pender County. The Post & Voice claims, “Also, a post office box is necessary to receive mail, since the postal service does not deliver to the homes on the island.” This is absolutely false. We called the Surf City USPS and they assured us that they do deliver mail to residential homes on the island. Jimmy Tate did not need to set up a P.O. Box if he had a mailbox on that mobile home or if he placed one on the property.
In the Post & Voice article, it is stated that JH Hines is the utility designation of the mobile home park. It is further claimed that “Tate owns the home with title, and he pays rent for the space.” In North Carolina, mobile homes are titled with the DMV which doesn’t allow review for concerned citizens. This particular pathway of “residency” is very convenient if you don’t want to be included in a public deed or public GIS information but instead would like to have the ability to cloak your claim. This information leads a normal person, in connection to the entire body of “affirmative proof” that the intent was not a permanent move for Jimmy Tate, but rather a quick and quiet way to establish what was needed for the Board of Elections.
Challenging residency is further complicated because how the Pender County Board of Elections is not required to remove him in the event his voting record is “sustained” in the challenge. The board may move that a vacancy be declared, but is not required to take such action.
We are accused of using a 22-year-old photo as key affirmative proof against Jimmy Tate and therefore this can’t possibly be Mr. Tates residence because it, “bears no resemblance to the current home at the location.” The Post & Voice then provides a photo of Jimmy Tate standing next to a mobile home by the beach.
In our article, we provide an aerial photograph from the Pender GIS. That photo is from 2020 as stated on the Pender County GIS website, “*2020 Aerial Photography & Property Record Cards are now available**“
Concerning the photo we provided in our first article, at least all our photos are time-stamped. We have no idea when this photo was taken of Jimmy Tate next to a mobile home park. We also can’t see any visible home numbers like in the 22-year-old photo. This photo doesn’t provide any evidence that it is the same or a different mobile home, it doesn’t provide any date or time stamps, and comes with no location data to substantiate Jimmy Tate’s claims. This again places further doubt in the mind of Pender County’s concerned citizens about the validity of Jimmy Tates’s claims of permanent residency required to hold office when he did during his third time serving as County Commissioner.
Image published in Pender-Topsail Post & Voice, Thursday, February 16, 2023 Page 15A. you can clearly see the visible time stamp and location address on the 22-year-old photo below. No such evidence is included in the picture from the Post & Voice.
River Landing and high quality of life
In our first article, “Commissioner Jimmy Tate resigns. Was he ever a Pender County Resident in the first place?” we asked the question, “with Jimmy Tate’s high reputation, and placement in positions and jobs within NC, Do you really think he would be living in this trailer by the beach?” What we should have asked is Do you believe that Jimmy Tate’s permanent residence is in Surf City? We still question why a man who has held some very prestigious titles, served on highly affluent boards, owns multiple very nice and expensive cars, and owns a home in River landing would “buy” a mobile home and rent a lot at the beach that is visually many levels below his standard for quality of life at the time to establish a permanent residence in the area. There are plenty of choices in choosing a home to rent or buy in District 1 that would seem suitable for a man who runs million-dollar nonprofits and sits on multi-million dollar University boards. Now, this isn’t to say he isn’t free to do as he pleases but it does beg the question of, was this a temporary measure to get elected?
Jimmy Tate still owns the River Landing home and hasn’t sold it. The Geographical proximity to all his other endeavors provides evidence that he would use that residence as his primary residence rather than the longer commute and travel times from the beach. Why would you abandon your home to your siblings as stated by Jimmy Tate in the Post & Voice article? “After the renovations were complete on the flood-damaged River landing home, a family member occupied the house in Wallace…the family member received a code for the gate in March, 2019.” We know from the only campaign finance document that is available for his 2022 election that his sister, Dr. Mary Lisa Robinson, who is also the Secretary and Treasurer for the Mt. Calvary Leadership 501c3 is listed at the 158 Candlestick Drive Wallace NC address.
“Tate also told the Post & Voice he had intended to return to the River landing home after it was repaired, but following the death of his brother and business partner Harvey he no longer wanted to live in the house the two had shared.” We should take a deeper dive into his timeline.
July 2014: Jimmy Tate resigns from an education committee while Pender County Commissioner Link
April 2015: Jimmy Tate resigns from the Pender County Commissioners position due to residency issues on a future job [TBD] he accepted at the time. Link
April 2015: Jimmy Tate starts work at the James Sprunt Community College in Duplin County.
August 2016: Jimmy Tate Joins the Roanoke Chowan Community College in Hertford County. Link
August 2017: Jimmy Tate resigns Roanoke-Chowan Community College in Herford County NC. Link
August 2017: Jimmy Tate joins the North Carolina Central University Chief of Staff Link
Feb 2018: Hurricane Florence damages Jimmy Tate’s residence at 158 Candlestick Dr. Wallace NC
Feb 2019: Jimmy Tate’s brother, Harvey Tate passes on. Obituary
March 2019: Jimmy Tate claims to vacate the 158 Candlestick home to a relative.
April 2019: Andy Pettigrew is added as a Trustee to Mt. Calvary University Presided by Jimmy Tate.
April 2020: Utilities at 31JH Hines in Pender County start to include Jimmy Tate’s name. (According to Surf City Mayor)
April 2020: PPP loan of $13,300 was issued to Jimmy T Tate car dealership in Duplin County FILE
Jan 2021: PPP Loan of $13,300 was issued to Jimmy T Tate car dealership in Duplin County FILE
Feb 2021: PPP Loan of $30,742 was issued to Post & Voice LLC FILE
March 2021: PPP Loan of $36,600 was issued to Mt. Calvary Leadership 501c in Duplin County FILE
March 2021: Jimmy Tate registers as a Republican in Pender County at the 31 N Topsail Dr. address. FILE
March 2021: Jimmy Tate is appointed to the UNCW Board of Trustees. Link
Nov 2021: Dr. Jimmy Tate ’99, ’01M, ’19M, current member of the UNCW Board of Trustees, and his sister, Dr. Mary Lisa Robinson, have made a $100,000 gift commitment to establish scholarships in memory of their brother, Harvey Tate Jr. LINK
Nov 2021: Jimmy Tate signs the IRS 909 form for the Mt. Calvary Leadership Development Corporation Inc. with the 158 Candlestick address as the principle officer address in Duplin County. 909FILING
Dec: 2021 Jimmy Tate Signs his Notice of Candidacy with the Pender County Board of elections. FILE
Jan 4th, 2022: Police reports are filed with Surf City PD against Ethan Baca by Jimmy Tate.
Jan 5th, 2022: Incident report filed with Pender County Sheriff against Beth Butler by Jimmy Tate.
May 2022: Jimmy Tate Wins Republican Primary in Pender County
August 2022: Jimmy Tate donates $1,000.00 to Senator Michael Lee listing his 158 Candlestick Dr. address in Duplin. LINK
August 2022: Jimmy Tate fills the vacancy left by Pender County Commissioner David Williams in District 1.
Jan 2023: Beth Butler raises residency concerns at the Jan 17th Pender County Commissioners meeting.
Jan 2023: Jimmy Tate resigns from the Pender County Commissioners position citing “hate”.
This timeline and the events included would be affirmative proof that Jimmy Tate was using his 158 Candlestick Drive much longer as his primary residence than he stated in the Post & Voice article.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume if one were able to get ahold of the Mt. Calvary 909 IRS filings from 2022 you would see the same pattern and signed affirmation that the 158 Candlestick Dr. address was the principal address. The timeline entry for that would be speculated around Nov 2022. We can’t get a hold of that document because it has yet to have been filed with the state of North Carolina charitable organization’s website. This timeline also calls into question Jimmy Tate’s statements about leaving the home as his primary residence after his brother passed away.
Again, nothing in this timeline is proof that Jimmy Tate’s permanent residence was in Pender County and didn’t violate the letter and the spirit of the law in regards to GS 163-57 line 3. In fact, it provides more evidence to the contrary.
What is starting to be observable is his pattern of accepting a job and then hunting for a new and potentially “better” job almost immediately by Jimmy Tate and his base of operations is the 158 Candlestick Dr. Wallace NC address. Since 2015 the majority of work, whether in the private, nonprofit, or educational sector have all been well outside of Pender County.
Political Action Committees
In North Carolina the legal requirements for candidates to file and maintain proper PAC documents are clear. Campaign Finance Manual. It states that basic registration forms such as the Statement of Organization (CRO-2100A), Certificate of Financial Accountant (CRO-3500), Candidate Designation of Funds (CR-3900 or CR-3900A) plus Disclosure reports (CR-1000) and detailed summaries (CR-1100) along with donor disclosure documents outlined in (CR-1210) and (CR-1205) for every candidate committee (PAC) a candidate has.
The problem is that Jimmy Tate has been elected for Pender County Commissioner twice and we don’t have any of this information available to investigate. His PAC documents only list one detailed summary from 07/2021 to 12/2021.
This is a huge problem and is a massive reason why the concerned citizens in Pender County don’t trust what Jimmy Tate or anyone else says about his residency or his intentions for the county and also why they questioned his conversion to the Republican ticket after being a lifelong democrat.
During our FOIA of the Pender County Board of Elections, we were told that the documents were never filed and that the responsibility for that is due to the passing of Jimmy Tate’s treasurer from his 2022 run for County Commissioner. While we are sympathetic to the loss of life, and could presumably understand that it might have taken extra time to file because of this, it doesn’t explain why the records were not filed at the quarterly file dates for 2022. It also doesn’t explain why no other records for his prior county commissioners and clerk of court election campaign finance documents have also been “lost” outside of his appointments. FILE
How has a man, who has been a Pender County Commissioner three times and ran for two of those races had only one quarterly disclosure report filed with the Board Of Elections?
Citizens of North Carolina Deserve Better
Why does this matter? Why are we investigating this? BECAUSE THE CITIZENS WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES DESERVE BETTER FROM OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS & THE GOP IS FAILING OUR VALUES AND OUR PARTY.
The GOP didn’t do any digging into concerned citizens’ affirmative proof of Jimmy Tate and allowed a lifelong Democrat to run and they endorsed him. We are going to assume they took Jimmy Tate’s word that he lived in a trailer down by the ocean when they [PGOP, CFRWC] began promoting him around Pender and in New Hanover as a Republican. We also don’t believe he just walked in the front door of the Pender GOP without some very high recommendations and connections.
Invocation for Jimmy Tate
We ask that Jimmy Tate realize that God gave him many gifts and resources to do the work within the Kingdom. TFP recognizes no man is flawless but, “To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48)”. We can’t even imagine how much Jimmy Tate could positively affect North Carolina if he would turn from those who seek to lead him astray and turn to God for wisdom to navigate this scandal and any other he might be apart of. We can hate the sin in each other but must always leave the door open to love the sinner and show them they can repent and return to the flock.
Freedom Of Information Requests
In order to ensure our story is as factual as possible, we submitted many FOIA requests to various entities within NC. Below are the Links to the PDFs surrounding those requests.
Pender County Board Of Elections FOIA: FILE
Pender County Sheriff FOIA: FILE
Surf City PD Incident Report: FILE
Pender County Sheriff Incident Report: FILE
We had it listed that Jimmy Tate won the Nov 2022 Primary Election. We corrected it to state that he filled the vacancy left by David Williams when he resigned in July. Jimmy Tate took over as commissioner in August 2022.
We had it listed that the NHCRWC supported Jimmy Tate after the Primary. We have been informed that the club did not in fact publicly support Jimmy Tate and corrected the article by removing them.
We had it listed that the Police Report on Ethan Baca was in May in our timeline. It was actually in January of 2022. We have corrected this.
We had it listed that James Sprunt Community College was within Hertford County. We corrected it to say Duplin.
We had it listed that the P.O. box was listed as his address. We clarified that it was his campaign address.
We had it listed in our investigations and corrected it to concerned citizens.
We had it listed as NC board of elections. This was corrected to Pender.
We had it listed as second elected and corrected to third under photogate.