Updated: Asheville City Council candidate’s campaign manager facing felony drug charges


Austin Haynes, (shown above in sunglasses, white T-shirt and red pants) the son and campaign manager of Asheville City Council candidate Brian Haynes, is facing felony drug charges. Austin Haynes and his hip-hop band, Free Radio, performed at a fund-raising concert for his father at New Mountain AVL alongside his uncle, famous rock guitarist Warren Haynes, shown at background/right with guitar.

Update Oct. 22: Both WCQS and the Asheville Citizen-Times today followed with their own stories on this topic. In both stories, Brian Haynes reiterated what he told me about the charges his son faces, then goes a step further by saying that he supports the legalization of marijuana. From the Citizen-Times:

Brian Haynes said there’s “hardly” a citizen in the city who hasn’t smoked marijuana or who doesn’t know someone who has.

“This has been going on way too long, this war on drugs, especially this war on marijuana,” he said.

Here’s the WCQS story on Haynes.

Original post Oct. 19: The son and campaign manager of a top contender for Asheville City Council in this year’s election is facing felony drug charges stemming from an arrest earlier this year.

Austin Buchanan Haynes, 31, the son of candidate Brian Haynes, was arrested March 20 by members of the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Taskforce. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on March 22 that Austin Haynes, of Robindale Avenue, was charged with possessing 6.36 pounds of marijuana and that he ran from officers.

Court papers show that a Buncombe County grand jury handed down a felony indictment of conspiracy to possess, with intent to sell/deliver, in excess of one and one-half ounces of marijuana on Sept. 14 after the case was moved from District Court to Superior Court. The indictment was served on Oct. 5, according to the court papers.

Sean Devereux, Austin Haynes’ defense attorney, in a telephone interview Monday afternoon said that the case is working its way through the system and noted that the situation was one in which Austin Haynes was living with a couple of other roommates who received a package from California. Austin Haynes’ name “was not on that package,” Devereux said.

Brian Haynes on Monday declined to comment on the specific charges against his son. Brian Haynes said he was fully aware of his son’s situation before he launched his political campaign, his first run for public office.

“He asked me if he should be my campaign manager, and I said, unequivocally, yes. I couldn’t be any more proud of my son. He’s the most socially conscious person I know,” Brian Haynes said.

“We knew this might come up, but just the same chose him to be our campaign manager. That’s what we’ve been calling him, even though this is a grassroots campaign that’s a committee of me, my wife and a few advisors,” he said.

Brian Haynes has worked as an assistant manager at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity for almost a decade. (He volunteered for the nonprofit prior to working for it.) In the late 1990s through 2004, Haynes owned and operated a popular downtown Asheville music shop called Almost Blue at the corner of Patton and Coxe avenues.

Brian Haynes has run an energetic City Council campaign, finishing second in a field of 15 in the October primary. His brother, famous rock guitarist Warren Haynes, held a successful campaign fund-raising concert in September. Austin Haynes has been at his father’s side throughout the campaign. His hip-hop band Free Radio performed at the concert, and this past weekend, Brian and Austin Haynes and volunteers knocked on doors in the Haw Creek community.

Brian Haynes and five other candidates are vying for three open seats on Asheville City Council. The election is Nov. 3, with early voting starting Thursday.

I have left messages with Austin Haynes seeking comment.


Henry October 26, 2015 - 4:05 pm

So Brian’s son was targeted by an anti-crime task force run by Sheriff Duncan and indicted by DA Williams, both of whom have endorsed Lindsey Simerly, who is running against Brian and his supporters.

I don’t see any problems there at all.

Barry Summers October 26, 2015 - 8:38 pm

I’m all for a good conspiracy theory, but to be fair – Austin was arrested three or four months before Brian even announced his run for City Council.

Not to say there’s no there there, but unless some other info surfaces, I’m not seeing it.

Barry Summers October 26, 2015 - 8:48 pm

I would support Brian over Lindsey, just to be clear. I like her and she’s done good work for LGBT and affordable housing issues, but she’s aligned herself with Julie & Marc. Sorry.

Lesley October 23, 2015 - 12:41 pm

If Brian weren’t the down-to-earth, rock solid person I know him to be, I’d say his was a perfectly calculated response, delivered at exactly right time in the arc of this PR cycle. But he’s just speaking his mind, speaking the truth, as he always does. I wish I lived in Asheville proper to I could vote for him.

Austin Haynes October 22, 2015 - 3:26 pm

I would like to address the article written about me.

The Brian Haynes for City Committee has been working tirelessly over the past four months to motivate the people of our city into politically, socially active citizens and the work we’ve accomplished speaks just that. Brian took second place in the primary because the people of our community are tired of being overlooked as our local government further encourages tourism but turns a blind eye to the cost of living and gentrification that affect our community the most. During our campaign we have made it our goal to involve as many people in Asheville’s local government as possible. Many of these people, service industry workers, single parents, physical laborers, small business owners, musicians, artists and working class families who love our city wholeheartedly, and want to see the culture of our city preserved, and the direction of our city’s government vastly improved.

Most of the city knows who I am. I have been organizing charity events and community fundraisers in Asheville almost my entire adult life. I have an incredible following of supporters through my work with my conscious, hip hop group, Free Radio, and we have made it our goal to unite our audiences and inform our community. With Free Radio I have won best hip hop in WNC for the past three years in a row. As a musician and activist, within the past year alone I have organized events that have donated thousands of dollars to nonprofits in our community including LEAF Schools and Streets, Brother Wolf and the Jewish Community Center. Since the rise of the GMO industry I have helped organize three March Against Monsanto rallies here in Asheville and participated in bringing awareness of the subject to thousands of concerned citizens in our area. I am a community organizer, musician, activist, radio show host and event promoter. But most of all, I strive to be a supportive and enthusiastic friend to everyone I meet. When my dad asked me to help with his campaign he was fully aware of my legal situation but our family is not defined by this situation and does too much amazing work for our community to be. This hardship of mine (which actually has nothing to do with Brian) stands as the most powerful indication to our community that Brian will stand behind our city and not turn his back on the people he cares about no matter how hard or difficult the times may be. He is one of the most unconditionally supportive people I know and has literally been working himself tirelessly to create a stronger sense of community amongst our amazing citizens and bring back the type of political engagement that gives us all a voice. He is an avid environmentalist, drives an electric car, works for an amazing non-profit organization and intensely cares about our city. He will be a great city councilman and even better friend to ALL of our communities’ people. Thanks, Austin Haynes

Ian J. October 22, 2015 - 2:37 pm

Hey hey, now that’s a grassroots campaign!

Tim Peck October 21, 2015 - 7:39 pm

And yet, still nothing on Wainscott in these pages.

Nate October 22, 2015 - 10:23 am

It fascinates me that you seem to think there’s been some sort of conspiracy to protect Wainscott, who never even registered to run as a candidate this year. You realize that Haynes actually *did* run, and came in second, right?

Barry Summers October 22, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Exactly. I think there’s a conspiracy to downplay how Mr. Peck torpedoed Tim Moffitt’s re-election.

Tim Peck October 22, 2015 - 5:11 pm

And yet, nothing on Wainscott in these pages. Right?

Barry Summers October 22, 2015 - 9:25 pm


Nate October 22, 2015 - 9:34 pm

Do you have some sort of personal grudge against Jonathan Wainscott, Tim? Please respond just ONCE with some explanation of what exactly you think needs to be covered about his situation, and why. I know that actual debate and explanation rather than snark and implication isn’t really in the Libertarian Media Provocateur playbook, but please try, because you’re confusing the hell out of me, and probably many others, right now.

Barry Summers October 23, 2015 - 11:01 am

That’s very optimistic of you. In any case, Mr. Peck can’t be bothered with reasonable discussion. He’s too busy maligning the Mayor today.

Tim Peck October 23, 2015 - 7:25 pm

Did you see any coverage of Wainscott’s violent outburst and subsequent arrest in these pages? Yes or No. Maybe I missed it.

Barry Summers October 23, 2015 - 9:04 pm

Did you see how Tim Peck has blocked me from his twitter account, because I caught him telling outrageous lies again?

Why can’t you just make your case using facts that are, you know, actually true?

Jank October 21, 2015 - 4:59 pm


so he ran from the cops?
he asked his dad to be the manager after the arrest?
this story is getting press after the primary?


Nate October 22, 2015 - 10:31 am

The events happened back in the spring, so if the police department or city admin was trying to torpedo Haynes’ campaign they could have released it in advance of the primary. According to the story, Austin wasn’t indicted until October 5, which was the actual day of the primary.

I’m actually *more* curious about why the C-T and WLOS *haven’t* run any stories about this. Guilt-by-association is pretty much the bread and butter of the modern media these days.

Nate October 22, 2015 - 9:35 pm

Annnnd …. the C-T finally got around to the story today, and posted it with a headline that focuses on Haynes support for legalization. Interesting spin.

IceNine October 21, 2015 - 3:09 pm

You’d have to be a real idiot to have 6 pounds of weed delivered to your house with your name on it…just sayin.

bill October 21, 2015 - 10:35 am

I would be more concerned if Austin bought beer for under aged teens.

Big Jilm October 21, 2015 - 9:10 am

This is a low blow to Brian’s campaign in an attempt to create some news.

Brian is an awesome person who truly wants to make positive changes to this community.

Don’t fall victim to the authors attempt at slandering this campaign.

Vote Brian Haynes!

D.Dial October 21, 2015 - 8:56 am

“Sean Devereux, Austin Haynes’ defense attorney, in a telephone interview Monday afternoon said that the case is working its way through the system and noted that the situation was one in which Austin Haynes was living with a couple of other roommates who received a package from California. Austin Haynes’ name “was not on that package,” Devereux said.”

When a conviction occurs then it’s news, till then is speculation…..and the timeing here is very interesting.

Radio Follower October 21, 2015 - 9:08 am

D. Dial…

Your comment makes little sense. His case is in the court system and looks like its moving forward. So, Jason should not cover this AT ALL until a conviction? The fact that a candidate’s campaign manager (and son) faces charges IS NEWS. He would be remiss not to post the story.

Dane October 21, 2015 - 5:56 am

Well, he just got my vote!

Jason W. October 20, 2015 - 11:51 pm

This article makes me yearn for the days of misogynistic coffee shop owner brouhaha.

Jason October 20, 2015 - 3:09 pm

Just lost my vote…bunch of drug addicts.

EL October 20, 2015 - 10:52 am

What is the point of publishing this? Firstly, there is no conviction. Second, this has absolutely no bearing on Brian’s ability to be an appropriate candidate for city council. In fact, it makes me like him even more because of the way he has handled it. This is such a poor excuse for a news article. This is obviously politically motivated headline bait and I don’t think I’ll read or support ashvegas.com any more after reading this.

Daniel Lebenstein October 19, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Austin Haynes is a wonderful young man who has been advocating for years for the betterment of the world through his music. He ran a great campaign for Brian- and although I have an extensive professional political background- taught me a lot throughout the campaign. He doesn’t do drugs and was caught up in a situation that he had no control of. Marijuana should indeed be legalized- certainly for medical purposes. I wish him well and know that justice will eventually come his way. This arrest should in no way reflect on Brian. Asheville knows what Brian is about and he will prevail in this election.

notmacaronny October 19, 2015 - 10:24 pm

what a well written article; I smell a pulitzer.

Lance Wille October 19, 2015 - 7:26 pm

Feel free to delete either one of my repeat hate mails

Lance Wille October 19, 2015 - 7:22 pm

I’m so very disappointed in this hit piece, Jason. The Asheville political machine must be very pleased. Don’t bother talking to me again.

Lance Wille October 19, 2015 - 7:21 pm

Nice hit piece, Jason. Asheville’s political machine must be very proud of you. My respect for you just fell through the floor. Through the floor.

Fallin October 19, 2015 - 6:28 pm

What purpose does this piece serve? Did Brian get caught with weed? No. Has Austin been convicted? No.
Thanks for possibly hurting the chances of someone who could really have made a positive change in Asheville.

Melissa October 19, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Brian’s response is refreshing. No spin.

Matt October 19, 2015 - 4:16 pm

Just legalize it, already.

I like that Brian Haynes isn’t trying to spin or cover up this situation at all.

jtroop October 19, 2015 - 3:51 pm

Well, look at the bright side, at least he wasn’t carrying 10 pounds of weed…

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