NCGOP vice chair candidate says past criminal record is ‘old news’ 

NCGOP vice chair candidate, Addul Ali.

RALEIGH — A candidate running for vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party had addressed his past criminal history amid a recent resurgence of the topic. 

Addul Ali, who is the current chair for the Cabarrus County GOP, is running to become the statewide vice chair for the NCGOP. He is also the political director at the Frederick Douglass Foundation of North Carolina and co-host and co-founder, alongside his twin brother, of the Urban Conservative Podcast. 

In the past, Ali had faced charges of driving with a revoked license and a misdemeanor charge of resisting a public officer tied to the license issue. Criminal records and background checks on Ali have been circulating among GOP insiders this week, which he addressed in an exclusive interview with North State Journal. Ali said the charges have been cleared and were brought up in the past when he ran for various positions. 

“First and foremost, if anybody knows me, they’ve known since I’ve been involved with the GOP, I’ve been upfront about my record,” Ali said. “I ran successfully in 2021 to become the chairman of the Cabarrus GOP, with many of the people — if not all of the people — on that executive committee and the delegates to that convention aware of my old charges.” 

He added that his past is “100% of what made me who I am today, and I don’t shirk away from it.” 

Ali also ran two campaigns for Kannapolis City Council in the last 10 years and said the same thing happened then. 

“This is old, honestly, it’s old news,” Ali said. “They tried this back in 2016-17 when I ran for Kannapolis City Council. It came up when I ran for Cabarrus County chairman, and I’m uniquely aware that it’s going to come up in my run for state party vice chair.” 

A second question regarding Ali’s background that has emerged is an apparent warrant for child support filed out of New York. Ali said that wasn’t about him or his children and involved identity theft. 

“I think that everybody knows what it’s like to … have somebody that’s been affected by identity theft,” said Ali. “And that’s what the situation that I was dealing with that child support situation. … [It] was a matter of identity theft, which caused me to not be able to get a driver’s license, but I was able to get that cleared up and I was actually a driver for AAA for several years — which you cannot do with a warrant.” 

When asked for more details on the child support issue, Ali said years ago when he traveled to New York, his wallet and ID had been stolen and that someone had used his Social Security number “to set this thing up apparently.” 

“And they had put a block on my license, so I had to go to New York and get that clarified … get that released,” Ali said of the child support warrant issue. He added that while that was going on, he was still driving. 

“I was a 21-, 22-year-old parent trying to drive back and forth,” said Ali, who is now in his early 40s. “So, I’ve got all that rectified, and I’ve had my driver’s license for years and years and I’ve not had a problem. 

“It’s not something that’s an issue now, and for somebody to say that I have a warrant for — I think it’s just ridiculous,” Ali said.  

Ali said his children are with his wife and reiterated that “this child support warrant thing” was “a matter of identity theft.” 

“I’m not shirking away from it. I’ve never shirked away from it and, quite frankly, to have the support of people like our state Sen. Paul Newton, who’s endorsed my campaign for vice chair,” Ali said. “I just got an endorsement from state Sen. Ted Alexander, Wayne Sasser and others have stepped up to endorse me knowing what the decisions were that I made in the past and how I corrected those decisions, and my leadership record in the GOP speaks volumes to that.” 

Ali also added that with all the support he has received, he believes he is an example of “you can come from absolutely nothing and make something of yourself.”  

“And if people want to use that to attack me, I’m fine with that. I’m OK with that,” Ali said.  

On March 10, Ali posted a video on Facebook on his Addul Ali for NCGOP Vice Chair account. The video is apparently the first in a series discussing his background. 

After initial reporting on the controversy over Ali’s past, North State Journal received a legal complaint filed against Ali as an individual and in his role as Cabarrus County GOP chairman. Also named in the complaint executive board members of the Cabarrus GOP. 

Attorney Tyler Brooks filed the complaint on behalf of Cabarrus County Republican Women’s President Jennifer Dunbar, who alleges “pervasive sex discrimination against women by the Cabarrus County Republican Party.” 

“[Ali] seems to have a problem with women — or at least, with women who wish to be treated as equals, and specifically with Plaintiff Jennifer Dunbar, President of the Cabarrus Republican Women (‘CRW’),” according to the complaint. 

Dunbar’s complaint says discrimination is tied to her being wrongfully removed as a member of the Cabarrus GOP executive committee in August 2022. 

Ali said he sees Dunbar’s complaint as nothing more than personal issues that “lack any real substance or any real evidence.” 

“But I still submit that if you’re suing the Republican Party of Cabarrus County, you are also suing every Republican woman in Cabarrus County,” Ali said. “That is a Republican thing. You’re suggesting that they are a party to gender discrimination. That is the essence of this. And I think it just goes to show you how preposterous the idea of this whole thing is.” 

Ali later added he has worked with and is a member of numerous women’s clubs and said, “We have a letter and a statement from 70 Republican women in the county — leading women in the county — that will tell you no such things happened.” He also provided a statement from the Cabarrus GOP on the complaint filed last year noting two women filled vacant roles in the party. 

The case is still pending in federal court and has had motions filed by both sides concerning the defendants’ request to dismiss the case and the plaintiff’s denied petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO). 

The TRO included sworn testimony under penalty of perjury from Elizabeth “Lisa” Matthews outlining an incident in which Ali allegedly threatened her over her work with an area charter school. According to Matthews, the county was interested in a building that the charter school wanted to buy and Cabarrus GOP board members got involved. 

“Mr. Ali contacted me directly and threatened me over the charter school dispute. He said I would ‘regret’ going against the ‘Republican Party leadership in the county’ and that I had ‘no idea what could be done’ to me and my family,” Matthews’ testimony reads. “He further said he would personally make it difficult for me to continue to live in the county.” 

Matthews alleges Ali went to various parties that could help the school and told them not to help and stated that Ali would tell people that ‘Lisa don’t know how to do what she’s told.’ She also stated she believed Ali’s ‘animus toward me was rooted in the fact that I was a woman in a strong leadership position and that he expected women to submit to whatever he told them to do.’” 

When asked about Matthews’ testimony, Ali responded: “What you have is Jennifer Dunbar saying that Lisa Matthews did that. Lisa Matthews isn’t a party to any lawsuit or anything like that.”  

Ali said anyone that knows him “will laugh at the idea of me calling and threatening anybody over a charter school.” He also said Matthews had since left the state but during the charter school situation she had gone “on the record to attack Christianity and accuse people of being racist and not wanting to support a black woman.” 

In an interview with North State Journal, Matthews said her testimony was “100 percent accurate.”

“Number one, everything that I said in the testimony for the case that was referenced is 100 percent accurate,” said Matthews, who now lives in Florida. “I know many people in the state of North Carolina who will vouch for me including not only sitting representatives and past representatives, and my pastors.”

“So, secondly, when he said I attacked Christianity, that is definitely false,” Matthews said. “I did indicate in a statement that I wrote to all the executive committee [members] that the behavior they were displaying was unchristian; that was there was some live deviant behavior; deceitful type things that were going on with the situation that happened with the building with the school. I did call them out on that.”

Matthews denies calling anyone a racist.

“And no, I didn’t call anybody for racist. I did say that I was a black woman starting a school and I was being blocked by the people who I thought would support me. I did say that,” Matthews said.

Matthews said she did support the lawsuit brought by Dunbar and agreed with Dunbar’s description of how Ali had treated her.  She also said that Ali wasn’t threatening her over the charter school itself but threatened her “over me and not falling in line and doing what he told me I should do.”

“I’m very disheartening to see what happened in the state of North Carolina, Cabarrus County specifically, and I don’t think that he is a good candidate for any office. Period,” said Matthews.

The most recently amended version of the complaint has dropped some of the Cabarrus executive committee members as defendants but kept Vice Chair Jack Lambert and Secretary Clay McQuire listed alongside Ali. 

“The public circular firing squad has to stop,” Ali said while going on to note the amended complaint includes a charge that he engages in gender discrimination because he is running for vice chair, a position Dunbar’s amended complaint says is typically held by a woman. 

This article has been updated to reflect response from Ms. Lisa Matthews to Mr. Ali’s statements.
About A.P. Dillon 889 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_