North Carolinian wants apology from Elizabeth Edwards

Monty Johnson was heading home with a cooler full of catfish when he learned his new neighbor had turned him into a minor celebrity.

The first calls on his cell phone came from two lawyers asking to represent him in a slander case. Elizabeth Edwards, they told him, had called him a “rabid, rabid Republican.” That wasn’t all. The Democratic presidential candidate’s wife also told The Associated Press she didn’t want her children near Johnson because, she said, he once pulled a gun on workers investigating a right of way on his property.

Johnson, a 55-year-old retired landscaper, said he’s not interested in suing.

“I’d just like to know why she has such hard feelings to me,” he said. “They say they’re for poor people.”

The Orange County Republicans sent out a release denouncing Edwards’ remarks. Newspapers from as far as Ireland have picked up the story. On Tuesday, “Inside Edition” sent a film crew to his single-wide trailer in rural Orange County that sits near the Edwards’ $6 million, 29,000-square-foot estate.

Johnson didn’t rebut Edwards’ comments. He’s a proud member of the Grand Old Party and owns a 9 mm handgun he said he’s not afraid to use.

What got his goat, he says, was Edwards’ calling his 42-acre property “slummy.”

Johnson rents one of the two buildings at the front of his property to a mechanic. The gravel lot is strewn with cars waiting to get fixed.

Johnson thinks the Edwardses don’t like him because he put up a sign along Old Greensboro Road that reads: “Go Rudy Giuliani 2008.” The couple has to read it every time they pull into their winding driveway.

He also left an abandoned house facing their property. But he said he was born there and doesn’t have the money to fix it up or the heart to tear it down.

Still, he said he doesn’t know why Edwards, who recently announced her breast cancer had recurred, would badmouth him.

Johnson, standing beside his Ford F-350 that’s “just like George Bush’s,” said he doesn’t care much for his newfound fame or his neighbors.

The day they looked at their property, the couple and several Secret Service agents parked on his land and walked across the street into the woods.

Johnson approached the agents and asked what they were doing on his property. “The Secret Service let me know it wasn’t my concern,” he said.

Since Edwards made her remarks, Johnson’s phone has been ringing off the hook with interview requests. Augustus Cho, chairman of the Orange County Republicans, sent a release, saying Edwards does not support the First or Second Amendments and extended an invitation to Johnson to join his group.

“The Republican Party is welcome to all who ascribe to personal freedoms, property rights, individual responsibility and less intrusive government,” Cho said.

On Tuesday, “Inside Edition” turned up.

A producer and a videographer told Johnson to go in his trailer and then come out carrying his gun. They told him to describe it as the “weapon of mass destruction” that Edwards referred to, and talk about it as “nothing more than a squirrel gun.”

“This is my weapon of mass destruction,” Johnson said, looking into the camera.

But Johnson and his wife, Vanessa, are getting out. They put their land on the market for $1.6 million — before Edwards’ remarks, Johnson said — because the couple can’t afford the property taxes and don’t like all the growth around them.

“Whoever buys it can have it,” he said, adding he’ll sell it to the Edwardses if they want it.

In the meantime, Johnson said he doesn’t have hard feelings toward Edwards, but he does expect her to say she’s sorry.

“I think she owes me an apology,” he said. “And I won’t feel right until I get it. If this is how they treat people in the White House, America is in for a helluva time.”

Raleigh News & Observer


  1. RBrown

    “I’d just like to know why she has such hard feelings to me,” Mr. Johnson says.

    It could be due in part to Mr. Johnson’s repeated comments to the media criticizing the Edwardses for the size of their new home and for keeping their gate locked, and accusing John Edwards for snubbing him by not stopping by to chat when he (Edwards) is out jogging. Johnson has been making these nutty remarks about the Edwardses to the media now for at least two months. Add to that the gun incident, which, according to one account floating around the blogosphere, may have involved utility workers with Duke Power accessing a right-of-way or easement, and you may well understand why Elizabeth Edwards would want to keep Johnson at arms length.

    As for Mrs. Edwards calling Johnson’s property slummy (actually, “property” should be plural – he owns 16 tracts in Orange County), we don’t know the context of that remark at all. We don’t even have a complete sentence out of Mrs. Edwards’ mouth. Just the word “slummy” in quotes.

    There do indeed appear to be quite a few details missing from the story as reported.

  2. lackeylocal

    Slummy is as Slummy does.

    Would you want your children around someone who pulled a gun on workers? Realizing he has the right to bear arms is one thing. But to have someone who just loosley pulls a gun on someone speaks volumes as to their lack of judement.

    With this publicity, this old man will probably get more for this property than he originally bargined for. His 15 minutes of fame has been expanded way tooooooo long.

  3. Dionysis

    Why should Elizabeth Edwards apologize? If the shoe fits, wear it, rabid wingnut. And if a bunch of junked cars and an unkept empty house do not constitute ‘slummy’ property, what does? And no one has disputed that this cretin pulled a gun on someone. She should warn her kids away from characters like him. So he’s selling his property and leaving. Good. He’ll probably move to a more hospitable location, like anywhere in South Carolina.

  4. Grover Syck

    As Dionysis said, “If the shoe fits wear it”, even if it is uncomfortable to do so in public.

    From the article, it sounds like it fits very well.

    In my opinion, no apology is due.

  5. Stavo

    Judging by Johnson comments, after the fact, I would beleary about letting any child near him.

    As for him not being able to afford the property taxes anymore…..look no further than the local GOP for that little surprise. The rich republicans always take what they want and will do anything to weed out those that can’t afford their games. His own party is giving him the shaft and he is to studid to realize it. lol

    GOP’ism is truly a mental illness issue.

  6. niterider

    Let’s see, Mr. Johnson was already living there when the Edwards’ moved in, now she is bad-mouthing him and his property. If she doesn’t like it they shouldn’t have moved there. And I don’t know where y’all live but in most ANY rural area of the country, if you go wandering around someone else’s property un-invited, you might very well be greeted by the land-owner carrying a gun.That is STILL a right that we have…….and the SS was wrong, it was his concern. He may not be due an apology, but he damn well doesn’t owe the Edwards a thing either. I hope he gets his $1.6 mil and tells both the Dems and Repubs to piss off…..

  7. Rik Reynolds

    If Monty was as “rabid” as Elizabeth slandered him wouldn’t he be taking up the lawyers’ offers to sue? This is why poor people join the GOP. The DLC corporate Dems have no real compassion. John Edwards met with the Bilderbergers to be approved before he could be on Kerry’s ticket. Most of the Dems are as elitist as the Repugs.

    That’s why Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. We are a plutocracy, and wealth rules. The Dems just offer a crust of bread to the poor, whereas the Repugs don’t care at all. Elizabeth can afford a 29,000 sq. ft. house and whines about an abandoned house next door? Why doesn’t she just offer to fix it up so some poor family can live there for cheap rent?

    It would make a great Habitat for Humanity project and maybe impress Monty enough to take down his Rudy sign. If the Secret Service were stomping around on my land and told me it was none of my concern I’d get riled too, and I’ve been a lifelong Dem voter, though often because they were the lesser evil. Time to give the Greens a chance.

  8. marylynn

    I just don’t get it. As a Democrat, I don’t find the statements defensible, either. I am surprised anyone can excuse EE’s calling a neighbor’s property “slummy” – no matter who or what the neighbor is. Actually, I am growing completely tired of the Edwards’ personal life and the public spectacle made of it in this primary race.

  9. Doubtom

    I just took a poll and everyone said there were “completely tired” of your opinion also.

    Slummy property is slummy regardless of who is observing it to be so and it doesn’t change because of whose property it may abut.

    This is tendered with a generous spirit in the hopes that it might acquaint you with the precise degree of your insignificance. Yer Welcum.

  10. David Rosenberg

    There is something not right here, Elizabeth Edwards doesn’t strike me as that type of person. On the other hand, why hasn’t she or John said something, defending what she said, if she said it.
    I get the inkling Mr. Johnson may have left a word or two out of his story, concerning the Secert Service. Mr. Johnson made it seem that they didn’t identify themselves but, how would Mr. Johnson know they were SS? In case Mr Johnson doesn’t understand the English language, Secret means, you aren’t supposed to know, what they are doing.
    I just feel pieces are missing from this story. If Mrs. Edwards made these statements, could it be a reaction to the Chemo she is on?
    I hope there is a follow-up to this to get the air cleared.

  11. Doubtom

    –are the least of our problems. What’s wrong with America is that we accept we need any agency described as “secret”; that’s the real obscenity!

    Secrecy has no place in a democracy, which is why we have never had a democracy.

  12. Ross

    If we got rid of the secret agencies, SS, CIA, FBI, NSA, on and on and on, who would be there to tell us lies so that we go to war and sell our freedoms. It just adds to the scare that we can’t ask them any questions because they’re just loaded with classified “national security” information. Meaning that we shouldn’t know the extent to which they’re ruining national security.

    Why the hell did she say that about him anyway? What question was she responding to.

    I went to an Edwards speech in ’04, and he is a smarmy bastard. He got out of poverty by sucking his masters’ balls, and now all he knows how to do is say the magic words. So far the only issue in his whole campaign is that his wife has cancer, and I’m not holding that against him, as its largely the media’s doing, but what else is there to his campaign. If he cared about poor people he would have stayed in the Senate to vote for universal health care legislation, or perhaps write it himself, instead of playing Robin to John “Skull $ Bones Bush’s cousin” Kerry.

    People like Edwards are in these campaigns because naturally people are becoming pissed at how easy it is to become and stay poor in this country. We pretend to have what other countries actually give their citizens. And we deride “socailist” medicine as taking away our freedoms (to do what-live?), while we do nothing as useless inteligence agencies with no accountability rape our nation and sell us out to the highest bidders (unless you’re Haliburton’s KBR and then you just get it automatically). But don’t think for a second a candidate that was approved by Bilderberg cares about you.

    Our political process is a joke.

  13. JR

    ANYONE’S property is going to look ‘slummy’ next to a castle. A home that is DOUBLE the size of the biggest home in the county.

    This is a rural area, not a subdivision. The property has been in his family since the Depression. John and Elizabeth buy across the road because the land was CHEAP in order to build that castle. They purposefully went to a more rural area, looking for a deal and got one.

    Now they look down their nose becuase their neighbor doesn’t meet their standards? I’m sorry but I’m LMAO. With their cash they could be living right now in Georgetown with ‘perfect neighbors’. They chose otherwise and now they’re bitching. It’s ridiculous. What idiot doesn’t vet the neighborhood before they move in if they have that as an option?