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Asheville Watchdog

Mission sale: Good for WNC, or just HCA?

Smaller, less-profitable hospital nets twice the price

Years from now, the decision in 2018 by the directors of Mission Health to sell to HCA Healthcare might be seen as a brilliant strategic maneuver, one that guaranteed affordable, high-quality healthcare for future generations of western North Carolinians. This was, and still is, the position of the directors and executives who pushed the deal.

In return for giving up its independence, local control, and century-long legacy as a nonprofit providing quality care for the benefit of local residents, Mission accepted a $1.5 billion offer from HCA, the biggest hospital chain in the country. As a public company, HCA is required by law to prioritize profit-making for its shareholders.

The money from the sale was designated to fund a new nonprofit, the Asheville-based Dogwood Health Trust. Based on the relatively small population of the 18-county mountain region it serves, Dogwood overnight became not just the richest per capita health-related endowment in North Carolina,

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Attack by Madison Cawthorn’s schoolmates goes viral

Online letter alleges misbehavior, sexual misconduct as student

A scathing public letter signed by more than 150 of Madison Cawthorn’s former schoolmates at Patrick Henry College alleges that the Republican candidate engaged in “sexually predatory behavior,” vandalism and lying as a student and is unfit for congress or as a representative of the conservative Christian school.

The letter, in the form of an online petition, was posted over the weekend by alumni who said they knew Cawthorn during the 2016-2017 academic year. He dropped out before the end of his second semester and didn’t return.  

Within hours of the letter’s release October 17, the number of Patrick Henry College alumni signers exploded, from 10 to 150 by midweek.  Many of the signers also recounted on social media their personal experiences with Cawthorn during that period, including several who alleged that they were victims of his sexual misconduct or had learned of it from other alleged victims at the time.

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A Done Deal: How Mission Health Wooed HCA

More than 2 years later, secrets and silence continue

Philip D. Green, Mission’s strategic advisor

The news stunned Asheville and Western North Carolina, where Mission Health System Inc. was the area’s largest employer, its main healthcare provider, and a long-time source of civic pride. Seemingly out of the blue, Mission’s directors publicly announced on March 21, 2018, that they had voted to sell the 133-year-old nonprofit to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, for an estimated $1.5 billion.

“To say that [Mission’s] announcement … was a surprise would be an understatement,” the Asheville Citizen Times observed in an editorial. “There has not been the slightest hint anything was afoot until Mission announced that its board had approved the deal unanimously.”

Coming Thursday: A smaller, less-profitable nonprofit hospital system in North Carolina sells for $2 billion, plus $3.1 billion in additional commitments — more than double what Mission negotiated with HCA. 

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Equity Advocates Resign Amid Racial Reckoning

City director quits, cites resistance, lack of support

Kimberlee Archie

The CEO of the YWCA of Asheville has quit, becoming the second Black woman in a month to leave a high-profile job with a mission of improving racial equity in the city.

Libby Kyles resigned Sept. 18, a little more than a year after being selected to run the century-old women’s organization whose primary role is racial justice.

Her departure follows the resignation of Kimberlee Archie, the city’s first  equity and inclusion manager, who left in August.

Kyles, an Asheville native and former teacher, declined to comment. YWCA spokeswoman Catalina Slater said the resignation, submitted late on a Friday afternoon, came as a surprise.

“She’s a hard worker, puts a lot of love into her mission,” Slater said. “And she’s co-founder/leader of the recently formed Black Asheville Demands and vice chair of the board of directors at Peak Academy,” a charter school for disadvantaged children.

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Cawthorn video hits Davis’ record as Guantanamo prosecutor

But attack alleging Asheville Democrat “defended terrorists” lacks facts

In the western North Carolina congressional campaign already notable for its bare-knuckled ferocity, GOP candidate Madison Cawthorn’s latest attack video against Democrat Morris (Moe) Davis stands out: TERRORIST DEFENDER, the video proclaims in bold text and shock-inducing graphics. 

“Moe Davis’ record shows he’s no patriot,” reads the text. 

His actions against America make him unfit to serve,” it continues.

 Then this: “Moe Davis has sided with foreign enemies over our own country numerous times.”

Cawthorn’s accusations brand Davis a traitor, the worst accusation that could be leveled at any veteran military officer. Davis, 62, is a retired Air Force colonel and decorated military lawyer whose 25 years of service culminated as the chief prosecutor of alleged al-Qaeda combatants imprisoned at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo, Cuba. 

The 25-year-old Republican candidate making the accusation,

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Tweet Storm: Candidate Attacks with Expletives, Vulgarity

Davis blames anger over Trump, Republican extremism

Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic images and expletives, reflecting the verbatim language used by the candidate.

Moe Davis has urged Democrats to stomp on the necks of certain Republicans, called Donald Trump the “dumbest f*cking president in history” and described GOP senators currying favor with the president in vulgar, graphic terms. 

Just before Christmas, he tweeted that Trump had turned evangelicals into “a klan of un-Christlike hypocrites who betray everything Jesus stood for.” Earlier, he wrote, “you can’t be for @realDonaldTrump and for Jesus.”

The retired Air Force colonel and Democrat running for the 11th district congressional seat is a prolific social media poster. His Twitter account, @ColMorrisDavis, has more than 161,000 followers and nearly 92,000 tweets, many of them strongly defending democratic principles and positions.

But they also include expletive-laced,

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Debate Fact-Checker: Zingers, Jabs and Lies

Congressional candidates’ claims rated for truthfulness

Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis exchanged accusations, some of them false, at a pair of debates this month.

In their first public face-off, the candidates vying for the increasingly competitive 11th district congressional seat, Republican Madison Cawthorn and Democrat Moe Davis, touted their differences on just about all issues and hurled accusations, with each calling the other “fast and loose” with the facts. Who was telling the truth? AVL Watchdog fact-checked some of the claims made at the Sept. 4-5 debates at Western Carolina University and rated them as true, false or misleading.

TOPIC: Welfare

THE CLAIM: In the first debate (at 1:17:08), Davis accused Cawthorn of wanting “to end welfare to balance the budget because it encourages single women, particularly minority women to have more babies so they get bigger checks.”

FACT-CHECK: We find this claim to be TRUE.

At a May 21 meeting at the Cherokee County Republican Party,

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From Military Prosecutor to Congressional Candidate

Democrat “Moe” Davis: a non-conformist who challenged authority

Updated

For Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, a career military lawyer, the assignment he won in 2005 could solidify his opportunity to become a general. The North Carolina native – and now the Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district — was named chief prosecutor of the alleged al Qaeda terrorists imprisoned at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba where they were subject to military justice. 

Davis embraced the challenge, likening his assignment to the prosecutors who brought Nazi war criminals to trial at Nuremberg after World War II. The tall, physically imposing officer quickly earned a reputation as an aggressive, by-the-book prosecutor inclined in frequent press conferences to trash-talk opposing lawyers and to mock the prisoners, most of whom had been captured in the months after the 9/11 attacks on Afghanistan’s battlefields or in CIA operations.

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Cawthorn Mingles With Far-Right Fringe

Disavows QAnon But Repeats Debunked Theory

Cawthorn appears in several photos on social media with Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the Senate in Delaware and a QAnon supporter.

Conservative congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn, scheduled to speak Wednesday at the GOP national convention, traveled to Texas last month to visit a private border wall and echoed discredited child sex trafficking claims promoted by the extremist conspiracy theory movement.

The July 30 event, billed as a “political seminar,” was held at the border wall built by the crowdfunding campaign whose organizers, most notably former Trump-adviser Stephen Bannon, were charged last week with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors. 

In a campaign video posted on Instagram, Cawthorn invoked an unsubstantiated claim popular among fringe conspiracy theorists.

“Sure, there are children being human-trafficked across our border north into our country for sex slavery and many things that are unspeakable and terrible to think of,” a somber Cawthorn said. “But what’s really going on is we are having a large group of cartels coming into our country,

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Candidate’s claim creates false impression

Cawthorn rejected by Naval Academy

A campaign video says Cawthorn "planned on serving his country in the Navy with a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. But all that changed in the spring of 2014 when tragedy struck." --

The narrative created by Republican congressional-candidate Madison Cawthorn paints a picture of a bright, young man headed to the U.S. Naval Academy until he was severely injured in an auto crash. 

“Madison was homeschooled in Hendersonville and was nominated to the Naval Academy by Rep. Mark Meadows in 2014,” according to the 11th district candidate’s website. “However, Madison’s plans were derailed that year after he nearly died in a tragic automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.”     

But in a 2017 sworn deposition obtained by AVL Watchdog, Cawthorn admitted his application to the Academy had already been rejected before the crash. The campaign did not comment, despite repeated requests over several days.

The Naval Academy reference is a key part of the 25-year-old’s public portrait, featuring prominently in his campaign speeches and interviews.

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