FIRST ON 3: District Attorney says no laws broken releasing Berger unemployment info

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Submitted: Wed, 06/08/2011 - 3:59am
Updated: Wed, 06/08/2011 - 4:28pm

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE FROM DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN DAVID) – I have received e-mails from some concerned citizens questioning whether Commissioner Brian Berger’s rights were violated when some personal information was released regarding his receipt of unemployment benefits.

I have consulted with County attorneys Wanda Copley and Sharon Huffman. Their response is attached. It is clear that, after research and consultation with legal experts in the field, the County determined that it was compelled by law to release the documents in question. In this case the County concluded that it had no legal basis to refuse to release the information. The release of the documents was a good faith effort to comply with the public records laws. From the evidence before me, no probable cause exists to indicate that the disclosure by the County violated any law of North Carolina.

I met with Mr. Berger’s attorney, Joe Cheshire, last week. We both agree that no crime was committed by the County in its disclosure of the documents. However, earlier today Mr. Cheshire expressed concern about how the press first learned of the existence of the documents. He sent me the following statement from Commissioner Berger:

I believe that the government documents related to my unemployment compensation which were released to the Wilmington Star-News after the Star News made a specific public records request of the county, were first leaked to the paper by an employee of New Hanover County. I believe this leak is what generated the public request and subsequent release of personal and confidential personnel documents to the paper. Without this leak, I do not believe any request would have been made and confidential material in my file would have remained protected. I further believe this leak was a political act and violates the laws of North Carolina and maybe the United States. I first called your office and then asked my attorney Joe Cheshire to ask you to consider investigating this obvious leak. I did this because, it is unconscionable that any county employee would leak confidential information of another county employee to any entity or person for any reason, much less a reason that may be vindictively political. I can foresee that this type of action if not stopped will have a chilling effect on county personnel doing things like seeking necessary health care and other important personal necessities that might for some reason end up in their personnel me because they will worry that this sensitive information will be leaked for some personal, political or economic advantage or perceived advantage the leaker may wish to obtain. The only way to stop such action is to completely investigate them, disclose the findings of the investigation and put leakers on notice that there are consequences for their actions. Today, my attorney is sending a letter to the County attorney also seeking such an investigation by their office. I am proud to represent the people of New Hanover County, but I do not think that by doing the job the voters elected me to do, I, or anyone else should be the subject of this type of secretive attack.

To date, there is no evidence to conclude that any crime has been committed. If facts are developed in the future that laws were violated, my office remains open to ensuring that these violations are addressed in a court of law.

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10 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: District Attorney says no laws broken releasing Berger unemployment info"

2015 years 8 months ago

It could have been someone at the ESC, locally or in Raleigh. It could have been someone at his bank.

It could also have been a neighbor or “friend” to whom Berger simply mentioned, “Thankfully the unemployment is still coming in.”

I’m starting to think that this “conspiracy against Brian” is nothing more than an attempt at damage control, to make all of his shortcomings vanish behind a smokescreen of “They’re out to get him.”

In that light, it could have Brian himself or one of his loyal supporters who called the Red Star.

2015 years 8 months ago

There will be a judgement day for county employee that unlawfully leaked this to media. Make no mistake- it is just a question of when.
Berger has done nothing wrong- it just says a lot about our county that a maliccious leak like this isn’t questioned. When it impacts Barffield we’ll see how you all feel>

2015 years 8 months ago

to let mr berger self destruct. There are crucial decisions to be made and acted upon.
HOWEVER, there is time to assemble and ask for his resignation at the next Comissioners Meeting.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their COUNTY, so to speak.

Time is of the essence!

2015 years 8 months ago

Poor Brian. Just can’t give the guy a break. It’s his first, last and only term. Let him self-destruct. Or not.

2015 years 8 months ago

That’s how it’s spelled Brian, you talk about it, but you can’t seem to grasp it. Face it you’ve lied to us about yourself and got caught. If this had happened to someone else say…. Rick Catlin you’d throw the first stone to mess up his hair.

2015 years 8 months ago

Berger, you smell fishier with every story WWAY does on you… How in the world if you are unemployment, Can you afford Joe Cheshire as your attorney? you might be getting thrown under a bus, but then again, the way you have acted, you deserve it.

2015 years 8 months ago

I am so sick of hearing Sh*# from Brian Berger, the Commissioners in general and the rest of the PAID losers at the county offices, that I just want to scream!

I’d like to kick every politicians a$$ who lies when they are asked a DIRECT Question, like “What other job do you hold? or “So, you are a consultant?….of who or what, Mr. Berger?, what is it that you actually do for a living?” See, we should have had him under OATH to answer a simple question. Perhaps, he needs to be under a Grand Jury Investigation.


Candidates, MARK my WORDS, That is indeed your FAIR warning if you think you can get away with one iota of this sort of nonsense.

Nationally and Locally~
We have +9.1% Unemployment, (More like 25%),
we have a president who hates business, loves unions, and will sell this country OUT in a heartbeat.
We have Exorbitant gasoline prices, we sent million$ to Braz$il to enable oil drilling with encouragement and accolades from the U.S. President for doing so, while he issued a stop drilling order here in the U.S.A. (causing massive job loss and companies to pack up and leave the country…. for places to CREATE WEALTH, not Re-distribute it.
Yes, we have LIQUID GOLD WATER COSTS local yokel abuses, Jobs that get started and ABRUPTLY STOP, like South College Roads Ridiculous Continuous Islands,
Sadly, we empathize with our neighbors in New Hanover County Homes being foreclosed upon, having been more prevalent and devastating to local families than ever before in Wilmington North Carolina’s rich and robust history,

(Damn Yankee, here, please don’t keep asking me to LEAVE, just b/c we disagree on some basic principles of living the American Dream.

I guess you love paying HIGH TAXES while you are working 3 part-time, low-paying jobs, with an advanced degree, while trying to keep FOOD in your refrigerator.
I like you Southerners,Northerners, Mid-westerners, etc., and care about you! I surely would NEVER Kick you in the TEETH while you are down like your president is doing. *(I know that I should capitalize President, like President Bush, but this guy disregards everything, so he taught me how to do the same).

I have a Point, and please indulge….
We now enjoy Mid-Afternoon Murders in the heart of our PREVIOUSLY fair City, while children are walking home from school bus stops nearby,
We suffer national abortion rates that repulse ‘responsible’ men and women who value life and who ascertain that there is a correlation to abortions and left wing ideologues that de-value life, as easily as they tend to de-value liberty, the nuclear family, Christian values and the hard earned dollar/

Loving instead govern’mental’ intervention, by insisting on pro-choice, womyn-libber values, tax hikes for the we are engaged in three Wars, double digit inflation and a Depression that is Manic but not Great,

We learn new language phrases everyday, such as Home Invasions and MOBILE METH LABS but wish we did not,
Still, we see Liberals in the Vast Far-Left Field citing “Bush did it” talk, and this is all HIS fault,

Most importantly, we have a president who does not appear to care about anything, very disjointed and apologetic when traveling to other Countries and speaking about our ONCE GREAT nation. We watch as the President of the United States of America bows in umbrage to…anyone, in UTTER DISBELIEF! We watch as the President of the United States of America accepts a book as a gift from chavez…and so so so much more

We give him Bin Laden and his leadership ability on that ONE INSTANCE>

We ignore epidemic drug problems, in the form of crack houses and meth labs in every part of this city, because We are Believers that it may all FLITTER AWAY someday, real soon.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT WON’T GO AWAY? Answer: Brian Berger!

2015 years 8 months ago

Can’t stand the heat Mr. Berger? You wanted to be a public official, now grow up and start showing some leadership on the commission instead of whining EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Guest 5204
2015 years 8 months ago

Joe Chesire is a high profile, high priced attorney from the Raleigh area. In light of Mr. Berger’s apparent lack of income, who is paying Mr. Chesire’s fee or is he representing Mr. Berger “pro bono”?

2015 years 8 months ago

If I were a betting person, I would bet that old Brian was never late to receive, cash, or spend his checks he received or is still receiving for unemployment. If he worked for or ran a business like he does as a Commissoner, there is no wonder he cannot keep a job or run a business. CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs

***Brian,Do not Be A Sponge!!!!!***