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DONNA ROGERS Managing Editor
elaine Pitt Business Manager
The Chronicle is dedicated to serving the
residents of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County
by giving voice to the voiceless, speaking truth
to power, standing for integrity and
encouraging open communication and
lively debate throughout the community.
Truth should be transparent
from page At
community, and rightly so.
Far too many of our elderly citizens have lost
their life's savings, property and other valuable
assets under questionable circumstances. And if that
isn't outrageous and painful enough, when our gov
ernment, funded by taxpayers, allegedly aids and
abets these crimes, then it certainly hits a sore nerve
in our community that has been an open wound for
So when The Chronicle became aware of the fine
legal work done by local attorney Reginald D.
Alston, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate
of the late Mary Ellen Brannon Thompson, we knew
the issues raised, and the facts therein confirmed,
had to be brought forward for the entire community
To be fair, the ultimate allegation in the lawsuit
by Ms. Thompson's estate, that her assets had been
squandered, has still to be proven in a court of law.
But the facts that have brought us to this point,
facts confirmed by no less than the N.C. Court of
Appeals, should have any rational person asking
serious and tough questions of our Forsyth Clerk of
Courts Office and die woman elected by the people
to manage it, Susan Frye.
Now Frye wasn't the Clerk in 2007 when many
of the alleged fraudulent actions in the suit took
place, but she's zealously defending them now. Big
According to its website (ncfcc.us/forsyth-coun
ty-hall-of-justice/), "The Clerk's Office provides
administrative support for the judicial operation of
the Forsyth County Courts ..." That means all
administrative support for our county court system
must comport with state statute, and longstanding
rules that codify legal procedure in doing the pub
But according to a February 2014 ruling by the
N.C. Court of Appeals on aspects of this case, our
Clerk of Courts Office was pretty much making up
its own rules when it came to determining whether
Mary Ellen Brannon Thompson, the retired nurse
with the $1.4 million estate in property and cash,
indeed required a guardian to handle her estate mat
Legally, Thompson was first supposed to be
found incompetent if warranted, and then the Clerk
of Court appoints a guardian for her estate. But the
reverse happened ... the guardian, local attorney
Bryan C. Thompson (no relation), was appointed
first, and only then, two days later, did the clerk issue
a court order declaring Mary Thompson incompe
The state Court of Appeals shook its head at this,
because that meant Bryan Thompson's appointment
was illegal then in the first place, since Mary
Thompson had not yet been legally declared incom
To make matters worse, none of these orders
from the Clerk's Office then had been file stamped
with date and time, as legally required to make them
official. All of this happened in 2007, so in the inter
vening years until the day Mary Thompson died in
October 2014, the lawsuit alleges that attorney
Bryan Thompson was managing her estate affairs
And estate attorney Reginald Alston contends
that his probe reveals this has happened in many
other cases over the years.
To add insult to injury. Clerk Susan Frye, who
admitted previously in 2014 that this was "...an
inadvertent error" needing to be corrected, now
defends all of this, saying these procedures were
pretty much the practice back then, but she's cleaned
them up now, so no worries, no fraud.
No fraud? We'll let a judge or jury decide that.
But the people's verdict is in: our Clerk of Courts
Office is too vital to our city, county and community,
to allow an elected official to play fast and loose
with the facts. We call on the N.C. Administrative
Office of the Courts, the N.C. State Auditors Office
(which conducted a financial audit of our Clerk's
Office in September 2014 and found internal con
trols there so lacking, the report stated that while it
didn't find evidence of fraud, the likelihood of fraud
if new procedures weren't implemented, was great);
and any other applicable state (or federal) agency, to
hold the Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court
Office accountable for how it has, and continues to
conduct the people's business.
What we know so far is totally unacceptable.
WSSU students, parents need
security after fatal shooting
The festivities surrounding Winston-Salem State
University's Homecoming weekend were going fine until
early Sunday morning, when a student was found dead
and another hurt on WSSU's campus. They had been shot.
The" gunman had not been found as of Sunday.
It was a sad Sunday morning in Winston-Salem as
prayers were said for the families of the dead and injured.
Prayers were said for those who currently attend and work
at the university, also.
While police say there is not a threat of an active
shooter on the Winston-Salem State University campus,
the shootings have shaken the secure feeling on campus.
The Chronicle joins those who mourn and applaud
police for quickly finding a suspect in the crime to ease the
concern of students and their parents and guardians and
employees of WSSU.
"On Oct. 15,1
called upon my
Cooper, to debate
the issues of this
campaign before the
people of this state."
Cooper appears to be dodging
debates in gubernatorial race
By Ken Spaulding Guest Columnist
North Carolina Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Ken
Spaulding held a press conference in
Durham on Monday, Oct. 26, during
which he made the following
1. On Oct. 15,1 called upon my
opponent, Roy Cooper, to debate the
issues of this campaign before the
people of this state.
2. Today, I have received no word
from his campaign that he is willing
to debate me.
3. If Roy Cooper is afraid to
debate me, then how in the world is
he going to stand up to the
Republicans and their sitting gover
4.1 wish to share with you just a
few additional steps of progress and
support for the importance of debates
in the Democratic Primary.
5. The Fayetteville Observer has
stepped forward and had the courage
and fairness to recognize my candi
dacy and to call for pre-primary
The Indy Weekly has for some
time called for the give-and-take
between Roy Cooper and me.
6. Now Time Warner Cable, in
conjunction with the League of
Women Voters, have agreed to spon
sor a debate that will be carried
7. Now, it's time for Roy Cooper
to show some degree of respect for
the people of this state and agree to
stand eye-to-eye and toe-to-toe and
debate the issues, which are so
important to North Carolina.
8. Roy can run, but he can't con
tinue to hide. Our party needs strong
and new leadership because "busi
ness as usual," and "more of the
same" have all led the Democrats to
9. The establishment of the
Democratic Party has handpicked
Roy Cooper and they control Roy
Cooper, so I call upon the establish
ment to instruct Roy Cooper to par
ticipate in a series of debates.
North Carolina Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Ken
Spaulding of Durham is an attorney
who is a former legislator and state
Board of Transportation member.
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