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Former Buncombe County library employee faces felony charge, allegation of anti-Semitic items as threat

Madison County Courthouse in 2023.
BPR News
Madison County Courthouse in 2023.

A 2023 case involving a former Buncombe County library employee accused of threatening the mother of a self-described “Nazi hunter” is scheduled to move forward this week.

Thomas Vance Pollock is charged with a felony after allegations that he affixed Adolf Hitler’s photo and the words “Mein Kampf is online” to a book and delivered it to the home of Kristofer Goldsmith's mother in Madison County. The book features a narrative about the disappearance of a mother.

Goldsmith is an Army veteran and the CEO of Task Force Butler, a nonprofit group of veterans who track and expose violent far-right extremists.

Pollock was initially charged last February with misdemeanor stalking. Prosecutors moved to a felony charge last month of “placing an exhibit with the intention of intimidation.”

“It was the first time that someone threatened my family,” Goldsmith, who lives in New York, told BPR in July 2023. He said he has faced other personal forms of backlash in response to his work.

“My mother immediately knew that this was a targeted attack in reference to my work with Task Force Butler Institute,” Goldsmith said. His family asked not to be identified in this report.

When Goldsmith’s mother found the package, she called 911. Madison County sheriff’s deputies visited Goldsmith’s mother’s house but took no immediate action, according to Goldsmith.

Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood did not respond to BPR’s questions about his office’s response to this incident.

Goldsmith and his attorneys later provided the sheriff’s office with evidence of Pollock admitting in an online post to delivering the book.

“The fact that that first threat against my family came as an in-person visit to my mother's house told me that this was real serious,” Goldsmith said.

Pollock worked at the Buncombe County Library as a library assistant, starting as a temporary employee in 2017 and moving to full-time in 2020.

He was terminated on Feb. 24, 2023, after an internal investigation was launched into his arrest for misdemeanor stalking, according to documents obtained from the Buncombe County government through a public records request.

The personnel records specifically mentioned Pollock's arrest and his dismissal letter referred to “off-duty conduct.”

“You acknowledge that you have engaged in the off-duty conduct detailed in the pre-disciplinary conference letter,” the dismissal letter read. “You acknowledged you have made mistakes and that your actions have been negligent toward your family and job. You acknowledged that your off-duty conduct has spilled over into the work environment.”

BPR made multiple attempts to reach out to Pollock, but he did not respond to requests for comment

Pollock was arrested three weeks before being fired and immediately released from jail on a $5,000 secured bond.

Goldsmith said he was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of law enforcement action, so he provided information directly to the county magistrate, who issued what in North Carolina is called a private or citizen-initiated warrant on Feb. 1, 2023.

In the same month, Goldsmith obtained a temporary restraining order against Pollock in Buncombe County.

Pollock consented to a one-year no-contact order in March 2023.

District Attorney Seth Banks, who oversees the 35th prosecutorial district including Madison County, declined to comment on the charge.

The misdemeanor case, originally scheduled to be heard Feb. 21, 2023, was continued six times. The misdemeanor was then changed to a felony in January 2024. District attorney offices can add additional felony or misdemeanor charges in addition to an initial warrant issued by a magistrate.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Madison County Superior Court on Feb. 29.

Jordan Wilkie is the democracy reporter for WITF. He previously reported on election administration and technology for Carolina Public Press. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.