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Campaign allegations discredited

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The Rev. James Gailliard

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Sunday, November 25, 2018

With the dust settling from the midterm elections, the man elected to represent most of Nash County in the state House is clearing the air about rumors that plagued his campaign.

The Rev. James Gailliard, a Democrat, defeated his Republican opponent to take the vacated House 25 seat with a 51 to 44 percent margin of victory.

Gailliard said he is honored to have run and excited to be sworn into office in January, according to a recent open letter he wrote to residents of Rocky Mount and Nash County as well as members of his congregation at Word Tabernacle Church, where he's been pastor for 13 years.

Gailliard said he was fully prepared for a spirited campaign but surprised when he became the target of a series of vicious attack ads.

"During the campaign process, I refused to respond to these attacks but instead committed that I would respond following the election," Gailliard said.

The main focus of the mailer ads was Gailliard's home on West Mount Drive.

"The sale of the house and seven acres was an internal transaction of $400,000, which represented fair market value of a large property requiring significant repair," Gailliard said. "The church still maintains ownership of the vast majority of the assets including two buildings and 59 acres."

Gailliard said it's not uncommon for a church to sell a parsonage to its pastor, especially as retirement age approaches. The decision was vetted by the church's board of directors, accountant, attorney and bank with full disclosure to members.

The information was presented a week before the election to the Telegram — that had already conducted an investigation of the allegations based on information of the same nature provided to it earlier — by political operatives seeking publication, intending an “October surprise” moment.

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party, sent the Telegram copies of a letter he sent to the IRS questioning the land deal between Gailliard and his church. In the letter, Woodhouse demanded to see Gailliard's tax returns.

However, the local GOP didn't contribute to the funding of the attack ad and discouraged its use, according to multiple sources within the Nash County Republican Party, who asked not to be identified.

"The allegations of fraud, abuse and tax evasion are simply untrue," Gailliard said. "Word Tabernacle Church has had an independent CPA audit our finances annually and has provided our members and partners with income and expense statements and balance sheets for many years."

Now that the elections are over, the real work of human, economic and community development is set to begin, Gailliard said.

"I look forward to doing my part to help make Rocky Mount and Nash County a choice place to live, raise our families, work, play and retire," Gailliard said.

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