DEVELOPING: Catlin fights back, wants Berger censured

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Submitted: Fri, 04/01/2011 - 9:37pm
Updated: Mon, 04/04/2011 - 1:29am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Rick Catlin is exploring whether or not to pursue censuring fellow Commissioner Brian Berger.

On Wednesday, Berger told us he contends Catlin stole his notes during a commissioners meeting and leaked them to the media as part of a smear campaign. When asked if he could have accidentally left his notes behind, he said that may have happened too.


We asked Berger about the notes, because they list item by item what Berger should say, ask and how he should vote. They apparently are also written by someone other than Berger. For instance, under Item 22, it reads, “legislative agenda for county–if BD (board) approves resolution to oppose ABC privitizing (sp) that should be added–I think MV (motor vehicle) impoundment is Ok–but that is YOUR call–on election of Board chairman–I think it might be better for the board to pick among itself but don’t be the lone dissenter-if others go for it–let it go.”

We asked Berger who wrote the notes for him. He said they were cut and pasted from notes he had written. We then asked if he talks to himself in the third person and leave notes for himself. He wouldn’t answer.

Wednesday evening, Catlin sent an e-mail to Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield, Vice Chair Jason Thompson, Commissioner Ted Davis and copied County Manager Bruce Shell and County Attorney Wanda Copley. In it he writes, “Berger has gone on record of accusing me of stealing his notes. This is harmful to my business and my employees. You could be next. I have asked Wanda for her input. I would appreciate yours. We can discuss tomorrow.”

He also sent an e-mail to Shell asking for added security at Thursday’s agenda briefing. In it he writes, “After discussing Brian’s email with folks with experience in this type of behavior, perhaps we should have a deputy at our meeting Thursday?? I am also concerned about staff’s safety.”

Catlin was referring to a six-page rambling rant that Berger sent out Monday chastising Shell and other county staff members for not getting information about an air-quality issue to him quickly enough. He also accused Catlin of having secret meetings on the issue and the staff of stonewalling him. Berger has since said he wishes he didn’t send the e-mail.

Catlin said he and Berger talked at Thursday’s agenda briefing meeting and now have a gentleman’s agreement, but didn’t say whether or not he wants to pursue censure.

Berger has not returned our calls.


  • Brock says:

    Uh this isn’t Teen Moon 2, this is an elected official. Its unfortunate to see that the many suspicions about Berger’s mental instability and inability to think and act with reason and independence are likely true. We should have elected Wilmington’s Emporer Ricky Meeks instead, might have gotten better results.

    If this really is just the frustrations and inability of a single man to deal with local politics, I question Berger’s mettle and fortitude. He’s handled the pressure with the finesse of a high school social clique drama queen.

  • Edward White says:

    Your tone is becoming more hysterical, and your reporting methods smack of tabloid TV–the ambushing of RC Soles at the governor’s meeting, for example.

    The overheated news items are written in emotionally-charged language, and WWAY focuses more and more on salacious gossip and innuendo.

    Keep it up, WWAY, and you will lose your credibility.

  • Roy says:

    Time to boot this nut job off the commission. Way too many important issues to consider without dealing with an unstable personality!

  • Ben McCoy says:

    ATTN: “Peter C.” aka “Straight Shooter” aka “John M.” aka WWAY asshat

    If you can muster the intellectual fortitude to do so, please list in a lucid and comprehensible manner, the rational reasons why you have so much against ABLE and its people. ABLE is nothing but a grassroots organization; and although we are flattered that you think we wield so much power, we certainly do not.

    None of us speak with Brian Berger on a regular basis, and no one attempts to control him or tell him how to vote. We elected him because he stands for our principles, and therefore, when left to himself, should vote the way the people that elected him want him to. There is no need, will, power, or reason to try and “control” him.

    You use a variety of login names to come on WWAY and post these insane rambling paranoid posts about how ABLE meets in secret; plotting to take over the county government, and all kinds of other insanity – and then you call real people – private citizens such as myself – out by name with all of your ridiculous accusations. You do know that there are laws against slander, libel, and defamation do you not? You also know that your security blanket – the anonymity that you enjoy, which makes you so brazen and bold with your insane claims – will fall apart like a Chinese mousetrap if one of the people you so willfully defame over and over again decides to file a lawsuit; and a subpoena is sworn out to WWAY to reveal your IP address and your identity, correct?

    So keep it coming – you are doing a great job of making an open and shut case against yourself; since none of your charges or paranoid rantings have any merit or factual basis.

  • David Hazi says:

    So you support an elected official that physically threaten other individuals but you don’t support one that is calling for better fiscal management and transparency? That defies any amount of logic and reason, that is unless you personally gain from the shenanigans of the other commissioners on the board.

    Digging into Brian Berger’s background just so you can trash him politically is pretty cheap and quite frankly has nothing to do with Berger’s ability to lead and make the right decisions.

    Instead of making ad hominem arguments Phillip C. why don’t you throw your name out into the public and lets have a real debate like adults about county government. Please explain to us the differences between the commissioners and what you think makes a good commissioner.

    I doubt you’ll do such a thing because its easier for you to hide in anonymity and do childish name calling instead of making civil, rational, and intellectual objections.

    However, if you ever decide to change your mind, you can e-mail me at or you can feel free to call me anytime 262-349-5003. You’re always free to show up to one of the Wilmington Liberty meetings to debate your case, the next meeting is April 20th, you can find more details on the website. I am willing to publically debate anyone, anytime, anywhere.

  • PETER C. says:

    I suggest we IMPEACH BERGER and sell lottery tickets to publicly slap the ABLE members — raising funds for public works! Catlin has a legal cause for a libel suit at this point and I would urge him to proceed. Brian, I am going to cheer the day you’re legally declared bankrupt — you’re already broke ’cause you don’t work. You claim to be a “consultant” with out-of-state clients, but that is the biggest joke since no company would hire a rambling varmint such as your self — that 30 minute video is sad. You need to check yourself into the Oaks; you need to “go away for while” and get perspective on your meltdown. If you’re so into to TRANSPARENCY then please release a signed IRS tax form for the last three years — I don’t believe that you work at all! All you do is call into to the Curtis Wright show and hang out with Ben McCoy, Tom Heitman, David Hazi, Carloyn Boreaux, and Laura Triece. Even with 5 people minding you, you still don’t add up to a man.

  • Ben McCoy says:

    Yes – because a commissioner who threatens to haul other town’s mayors into parking lots and beat them; while warning them not to soil their huggies, is the bastion of sanity and reason – not to mention a “stable personality”. Let’s keep him; and crucify the one who sent some emails and posted an opinion to Facebook.

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