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WECT anchor e-mails support to Commissioner Berger; Says he's lived through similar issues

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Kevin Mauer at the StarNews originally broke this story Friday afternoon about an e-mail exchange between WECT morning anchor Bob Townsend and New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger. Mauer reports that Townsend did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment, and WECT's General Manager Gary McNair and News Director Scott Saxton declined to comment. The StarNews and WECT are local media partners who share content with each other.

From Bob to Brian
Thursday, September 8, 2011
4:26 a.m.

Nice Statement. Hang in there. Many of us have experienced some of what you have been going thru and have survived it. Just not as wide known as yours. Keep strong.

- Bob

From Brian to Bob
Friday, September 9, 2011
3:55 a.m.

Thank you Bob. That was a nice thing to say...I don't hear alot of nice things like that. I really appreciate it.

Don't you work in a couple of hours? Do you sleep or do you just manage with a few hours?

Granted nobody does as disturbing and outlandish and irrational things in these situations like I did, and I'm incredibly embarrassed by behavior, but I would think most people would be able to relate a little to relationship issues. I had to sever three in a week after learning Heather was cheating, and sever ties with her two sons who have a very close attachment to me and I love them. I was the first person they called dad (I put a stop to that and had them call me Brian so if their real father who abandoned them ever came back, I didn't want them to be confused. The three year old didn't understand what was going on but the five year old did and after saying goodbye he started crying in a way I've never heard anyone, child or adult, cry. It was very heartbreaking to see that. Put that all together and throw in Heather's borderline personality disorder and my "issues" and I did not express my emotions appropriately, but there was never any violence or threats of violence contrary to what I assume people must think (and with the way some media outlets didn't quite get the stories right, the obviously crazy behavior, and all the police calls I don't blame people for thinking that...) Not to mention the false assault charge a few months ago and my trip to the New Hanover County Detention Center and Resort and seeing me in chains like Hannibal Lecter it's probably somewhat instinctive to perceive danger and assume the subject is violent and thus the chains.

I can't wait to see and hear what gets said about the protective order Heather took out...which is a long story in itself (assuming Heather told me the truth before she filled out the paperwork...) we did discuss it this afternoon so it wasn't a surprise for me. The only impact it has on me is I have to go to at least one hearing, maybe more (WWAY will definitely be there...I'll give you a heads-up it's the morning of September 16...although I do hope the judge doesn't allow cameras in the courtroom...I've seen enough cameras for a lifetime!) The order is not based on any violence, it's basis is "emotional distress" from the whole fake suicide thing and photo. And I have to wait longer to get my gun back. That's the only real effect. Well, it just occurred to me the biggest effect will be the potential to use that to keep me in the news.

So that's why I didn't get back to you about coming on, in addition to be extremely embarrassing and hard to talk about and drawing attention (some people crave attention, but I do not like attention, positive or negative), its rather complex. The situation doesn't justify my behavior, but it didn't just pop out of the blue, there was a trigger that sparked it...a very complicated one some people might understand (not the irrational behavior, but the "why" that triggered it). And that is just way too complicated for a poor storyteller like me and probably a bit much even for print media.

I did forgive Heather, in about a day, but I will NEVER be in a romantic relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder. There is almost 100-percent chance things will end in some way that is explosive and severely damaging and this is also a very high likelihood that you will need a therapist for yourself if you are involved in a relationship with someone with BDP. Unfortunately I didn't learn this until after I was in love with Heather and the kids, so I figured there was no way about 100-percent end badly, it couldn't possible be that certain, and I could avoid that with Heather, we might end, it might be painful, but it won't be that damaging and I won't need a shrink if it does end. Another example of poor judgment on my part, but I just couldn't end the relationship before the inevitable disaster happened. I know you must think that's crazy or me being dramatic, that's what I thought, only death and taxes are certain. But now I understand that it's not so crazy after all - the inevitable disastrous ending and needing a shrink after being in a relationship with someone with someone with BDP. I know BDP played a very large role in the week of drama. (I like boring, quiet and peaceful not frenetic and dramatic.)

I think in the future I'll steer clear of dating anyone with BDP. (I've seen statistics showing 5-6 percent of the population has BDP, but that seems oftly high so I think its got to be less than that). Now if only I could find a way to get out of the news and back to my quiet, boring and perfectly fine life!

Thanks again for the kind words of support. I really appreciate it.

- Brian

From Bob to Brian
Friday, September 9, 2011
10:34 a.m.

Brian -

Apparently none of your peers have ever had a personal experience to where they maybe acted out of the ordinary, and in some people's cases, acted as being temporary insane. I know exactly how you have felt with Heather. I have experienced it as well. Without going into detail, I had a friend who shared some positive feelings about me. We became good friends, but not in any romantic way, but definitely more than just a friend. Maybe romantic later on, but definitely not in the immediate future.

Last year, that person and I parted ways of that friendship. It was the other person's decision, and I, quite honestly, was devastated. After being in somewhat of a bad situation for a long time, I had finally found someone that I thought would be a person I could count on, for a long time, and perhaps, for life. I was all ready for whatever changes were required to make that happen. But I think I became to intense in moving the relationship along, that the person (she) backed off completely. And I mean completely, no contact, cold turkey.

I about went crazy, and believe that temporary insanity was what happened to me. That was in the spring of last year. I don't feel that I am over it yet, it still consumes me sometimes.

So what has happened between you and Heather is perhaps some of what has happened to me. Of course, you and I took different paths to try and recover from our circumstances, but because of your professional role as a County Commissioner, and with the news industry that it is now, your position became very public. That is a shame, but again, the world is different, depending on the roles we have in our lives.

Don't beat yourself up. Keep going. The last thing you need now in your personal life is to let the others control what you have in your professional life. You don't have to be defiant, but just be strong. Get thru this thing on September 16, hold your head up high, take whatever comes, and move on.

I do know of a good doctor that I go to, and he has helped me tremendously, not saying you need the help, but maybe someone to talk with about this. If you want his name, just let me know. He is really good and has been a blessing to me. In the meanwhile, if you need to talk with someone who has had a very familiar role with some of what you are going thru, don't hesitate to call, you have my number. I am not expert, but a victim of a circumstance that I am still trying to get a handle on.

As fas as tv, you may want to consider it after September 16, just leave it where you did yesterday. You made your feelings known, you spoke up and gave your position, now don't do anything until they do the next step (court hearing). You are safe in the Commissioners role, just have to put up with people who don't know the circumstances and quick to judge without that knowledge. Just do your job, show up (on time) at the meetings, and as my doctor told me, put on my "big boy pants" and move on. Time will heal everything, or at least I am hoping that will happen. Just hang in there. People who have experienced the same circumstances know what is going on, just a bunch of real asses out there in the world who thinks they know everything and want to bully people. Screw them. Keep strong.

Call if you need anything. Wanna meet for lunch someday, just let me know. I hate eating alone. Thanks.

- Bob

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Priceless

I used to live in Wilmington and now reside in SC. I must say, I can't seem to stay away from ILM news and WWAY is reporting it like it's never been told before! Call it gossip, etc., but who else has the kahunas to go above and beyond and dig deep into the lives of politicians, etc? It's not WECT, or the StarNews. It's WWAY. Folks this is what true journalism represents, period. Don't blame WWAY or any news source for "sinking to a new low." At the end of the day, Berger, Townsend, Blaylock, and whoever else is in the news made their beds. If they didn't act up, they wouldn't be in the news. I commend WWAY for TRUE journalism and reporting the REAL news. I can't stay away from this website or the live feeds of the daily news. I'm freakin addicted to all this Berger mess and if nothing else, his life is what reality TV is all about. It's not Keeping up with the Kardashains, Big Brother, etc...it's Berger and whoever else seems to be newsworthy, and WWAY keeps reporting it.

I love this station, and will always be loyal to them.

**Imagine all the things we wouldn't know if it weren't for WWAY reporting it...look at it like that."

It's beter to have more than enough information than to have very little or none at all. Kudos to you folks, and keep reporting the great news of Wilmington!

Gossip

For all the bible-thumpers here in the bible belt, there sure is a LOT of interest in this hurtful gossip. Most of those who call themselves 'christians' are hypocrites.

This is Low-Down, Folks!

I would have thought that WWAY would have been above this sort of tawdry stuff, folks. This news station needs some more theology and geometry, is what they need. Heck, the only reason i even look at their stuff is b/c of the good looking women on there.

Great

Another sexist redneck. Just what we need.

Because of the good looking women?

You are hardly in a position to lecture WWAY on "tawdry" behavior, ol' block in the eye.

Father did not abandon children

The comment that the father abandoned the children is totally false. He has 50/50 custody and is the only stabilizing influence in those childrens' lives. He holds a steady job, is well put together and an all around decent man and a loving father. Unlike the other two characters in this sordid saga, he has no mental issues.

The Truth

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING IS OFF THE RECORD WWAY AND I DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO USE IT!!!! : I wanted to make a few things clear. First of all, I am Heather Blaylock, Brian Berger's ex-girlfriend. I have tried to keep myself out of the media in order to protect my children from any exposure and to protect my job. It has been very difficult reading all the lies WWAY has written about me but this article is something I cannot just ignore for it creates severe difficulties in my life. Of all the articles WWAY has run mentioning me, they only once tried to contact me for any clarity or comment and that was almost two weeks ago. They never felt the need to let me know anything was appearing on their website. When they ran the article about last Friday night they stated that I had invited Brian to my home to watch movies. That was a lie. Brian and I met at the mall so we could discuss me getting some personal belongings out of his home. When I got in my car to drive home, Brian grabbed my steering wheel so I could not leave and began screaming and crying about how he could not let me go. This made my children begin to cry. He kept asking to see me later to watch a movie. After a few minutes of asking him to go away, and after telling him no, and pointing out how he was only upsetting my children, I finally told him I would meet him to watch a movie at my apartment. I never intended to and just said that so he would get out of my car and I could get my children away from a distructive situation. I even told the police that Friday night. I never met with him at my home. WWAY failed to report the story this way. I also never declined a protection order. That was another lie. The police told me Friday night I should get one and I asked them how I could. They said I had to go to the Clerk of Court and get one but since it was the start of Labor Day weekend, I would have to wait till Tuesday to get one. I said fine and that was that. I never declined. I even left a voicemail to Scott Pickey explaining this and yet they still ran another article later saying I declined the order. Finally, I have never been diagnosed with any disorder of any kind. Anyone who knows me knows I am a very rational person who thinks things through before I act. My biggest flaw was that I fell in love with Brian. He was not always like this. We had been together two and a half years (well before he even thought about running for office) and he was not the person then that he is now. He is so desperate to pin the blame on someone else that he will throw anyone under the bus: the police dept, the other commissioners, and now me. The fact he claimed I had a disorder is a complete lie and he is just burning the few bridges he still had left. I still wish for him to get help, but I wish to god he had not dragged me and my children down with him. All I ever wanted was a quiet and peaceful life and he has made that impossible. I tried to help him so many times and he would just not accept it. While I wish to remain out of the media, I needed those reading the above lies to learn the truth. These lies Brian has spread are devastating to me, professionally, socially, and emotionally. I don't understand why people would believe a man who pretended to be committing suicide just to get the attention he required and who tried to tarnish the WPD's name. I will not be speaking to the media about all that has occured because I wish to move on with my life, but when libel is taking place, I need to do something to defend myself, for my sake and my children's. Thank you all for the time you took to read this. I pray Brian gets the help he needs before he does not have a friend in the world.

Thanks for the info

Heather,

Thanks for your message. We are glad to hear from you, as you are very hard to reach. As you mentioned one of our reporters called you a couple weeks ago between the two incidents involving you and Commissioner Berger, and this is the first we have heard back. I asked Scott Pickey, and he said he did not know of a voicemail from you, but he will check again in case he missed it. If so that is unfortunate, as we definitely would have liked to get your side of the story and any clarification. That's why we've tried to talk with you several times in the past. I think the last time anyone at our station was able to reach you was after Mr. Berger's arrest in June. At the time you said you were not ready to talk, but would let us know if you changed your mind. You then spent the next several days telling anyone who would listen that it was our fault and WPD's for Mr. Berger's problems that week.

As far as clarifying our coverage of the incident two Fridays ago, if you look back at our story you'll see that we only reported that police met you and Mr. Berger at your home after a meeting became heated, that no one was arrested and that the officers said they had explained the protective order process and you declined. I believe those other details you mentioned were in a story by another news outlet in town. We learned Thursday, of course, that you eventually did file a protective order. Sorry if we missed your call with that info earlier, though I must say I would be surprised you would call with information you had not shared publicly otherwise given your reluctance to talk with us in the past and the disparaging comments you've made publicly about us.

Nevertheless we are always interested in the truth, and we would love to talk with you. We will extend to you the same offer we've made several times to Mr. Berger: you name the time and place and we'll be there, or join us live in studio if you are concerned about the editing process. I think that is more than fair. I'm sure you have plenty to say, especially since Mr. Berger has made various claims about you in public, specifically about your mental health, that you clearly dispute.

If you would like to talk further, please call our newsroom at (910) 763-0979 and ask for me or send me an e-mail at kwuzzardo@wwaytv3.com. The ball is in your court.

Sincerely,
Kevin Wuzzardo
News Content Manager
WWAY NewsChannel 3

Small observation

Ms Blaylock,
I hate to point out but 1st off there is definitely some issues you need to deal with. What you and Mr Berger have turned into is what the Pyschological community refers to as a Co-Dependant relationship which is very unhealthy for both of you. If this is really you I urge you to seek counseling for yourself because even if as you claim things are as you say an individual in a co-dependant relationship can have hidden issues after the relationship ends. Ive known a few people in similar situations including one fellow classmate in nursing school. Its more about retrospection and figuring out how things got as they did and how to avoid it in the future. A prime example of codependancy is a married couple, 1 is a ragin alchoholic the other is technically the enabler. THey love the person and keep hoping they will change and whatnot if they are supportive when in fact the enabler inadvertantly makes things worse.. I Hope you and your children can move pass this situation for all your sakes.

If you want true,

If you want true, professional journalism, watch WECT. If you want gossip, waiting waiting for TMZ or The Soup to come on, watch WWAY. I guess it's a good thing WWAY doesn't do print journalism, otherwise they'd be gunning for the Star News and gossiping about them. GROW UP and quit embarrassing Wilmington!

Well, go away

I HAVE watched WECT, and they bored me to tears. I guess I just can't stomach Frances Weller. She's about as exciting as watching water drip from your faucet into your sink....drip, drip, drip. About as irritating too.

If you're so offended by WWAY, don't read or post on this forum. It's that simple. You have a choice, so use it.

Bob and Brian

WWAY news department, you should be ashamed of yourselves. It is a far stretch to call yourselves a news department. Who's your next anchor going to be, Jerry Springer?

Bob and Brian

So you have one disturbed individual (Bob) who is going to a shrink, telling another guy (Brian) that he will give him the name of his shrink so they can bond together. Isn't this kind of like the blind leading the blind? Bob, you're not helping Brian by feeding into his delusions. You're only making things worse. Support, yes, but to continue to feed his delusion that he can still be an effective county commissioner is just wrong.

I feel sorry for both these guys, they have serious heartache in their lives, but Brian is a county commissioner, who needs to be able to make stable and solid decisions because of his position. He is not able to do that at this point in his life. He needs to resign, go to Bob's shrink, and get his mental issues under control. He cannot effectively lead the citizens of New Hanover County.

Unlike certain welfare

Unlike certain welfare disability sponges, Mr Berger worked hard, and won his seat. Its easy to throw roacks at a man when he's down. Especilly when you ride the gravy train, on other psoples backs.

Mr Townsend, and Mr Berger have had their share of rough times, but they get up, and carry on. They represent the sprit of so much of Wilmington. So try walking a mile in their shoes before you cast a stone.

Yes he did

Yes, Mr. Berger did win his seat…..while drawing unemployment from Washington, DC, which he continued to draw even after being seated as a County Commissioner here. I hope DC investigators will bring charges against him for fraudulently obtaining taxpayer monies.

Mr. Berger misrepresented himself as the ideal candidate. Voters took him at his word, and Mr. Berger took them for a ride, which is still ongoing.

Will Rogers once said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip”. I shudder to think what Mr. Berger’s parrot would say.

Unemployment is earned - you

Unemployment is earned - you pay in, and you're entitled to collect if you meet the requirements. Even if you're working, you're not disqualified from collecting. Sure, your earnings offset your benefit, but you're still eligible. Hate to see the truth distorted by 'news' outlets.

Unemployment is not earned...

As an employee, you pay nothing into the unemployment fund. That cost is born solely by the employer...not you. Have you ever seen a deduction from your paycheck for unemployment? No you haven't. Provided you are a W-2 employee, you pay Federal, State, and FICA taxes...not unemployment taxes. So to say you're entitled because you pay in...is false.

Great information

Thank you for that information. I had no idea that employers paid unemployment and not taxpayers. Of course, I'm sure those same employers increase their prices to the taxpayers to compensate.

Did you not read the information...

Unemployment premiums are based upon the employer's total payroll...not sales/revenue. Sales have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Yep

You're right. It is earned...by working at least 6 months in a job and being laid off. So he could potentially not work for years and years, get a little job for 6 months, and then draw unemployment. Then get another job for 6 months, etc., etc.

You're not disqualified from collecting unemployment if you're working, but it does offset your benefit. What I wonder is if Mr. Berger is reporting his current earnings to DC and if they are adjusting that benefit. Many people really know how to work the system.

Right ON!

Straight shooting post, DITTO!

One way empathy street...

Aside from the email snooping,it's disconcerting that Mr. Townsend extends such empathy and emotional sharing with Mr. Berger while totally missing the fact that there are several TRUE victims that are overlooked and more worthy of his attention.The ex-GF has been as humiliated as Berger;been the victim of his emotional/physical abuse;has had personal medical diagnostic accusations(by him)disclosed w/o her permission-the list goes on..He is older than her and more experienced and has knowingly taken advantage of her,along with her children to meet his demands for affection.He declares love for her,when it's actually obsession w/ a big dose of selfishness.I'd bet the farm that his mental fraility list is a mile longer than the ex-Gf,anyday of the week.Finally-I believe Mr. Townsend made a mistake in contacting this man,due to his afilliation w/ WECT and the fact that there are/should be plenty of less-risky individuals to emote your past personal disappointments with.Mr. Townsend needs to keep seeing his wonderful doctor.

Don't forget! There are 3 sides to this story!

What He said, what SHE said and then...what REALLY happened!

Agreed

I agree. I've always found the truth to be midway of what two parties have said.

Why?

I've seen pictures of Brian's ex-girlfriend. What amazes me is why she would give Brian the time of day.

Look at Brian on the day of his press conference. He's unshaven, hair that looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket, wrinkled clothes, wild looking eyes darting back and forth, and stumbling over his words barely able to form a sentence.

All I can think of is she saw him as being a big shot in town because of his being a county commissioner. It certainly wasn't for money because he doesn't have any (although he does have the extra unemployment money from DC). May he did to her what he did to us - misrepresented himself as something he's not.

Newsworthy

This is newsworthy for two main reasons: #1 Brian is an elected official and #2 Bob has requested that the public trust him because of his chosen profession.
Because both are intelligent men that must have known that the release of this email was fair game. If Bob is married or was married when the "nonrelationship" took place, that says something about his character and integrity. Otherwise, I think as I did previously that he is a fine news anchor who is well respected. I think that his writing of the letter may have shed light on mental illness for this community. There are many people who have full time jobs and are gainfully employed who are mentally ill. Mental illness or disorders is not a crime. Good luck to them both and thanks to WWAY for not being fearful to tackle the hard questions and displaying a dichotonomy of the issues. You are doing a great job and finally bringing to this community what we haven't seen before.

WWAY has just sunk to the

WWAY has just sunk to the lowest of the low. What do you expect to get out of this article other then hurting people? Journalist integrity is obviously not something you believe in. It is things like this that keep me from watching news on a network that has good programing outside their news. Enjoy the bottom WWAY, say hi to Rupert while you are down there. Vial news at it's best!

Townsend/Cheesberger Duo

Anchor boy meets Dumbo! Why don't both you boys just cry me a river! Geez louise--grow up and deal with your stuff! Take some responsiblity for your your words and actions. And if you can't, don't be predisposed to put yourselves in positions to be judged and scrutinized!

Pay attention, Mr. Lohr

Mr. Townsend indicated that he *has* dealt with his "stuff" and is offering Mr. Berger sound advice in a very compassionate way.

I'm not sure why that would bother you so.

It bothers me

It bothers ME because Brian is an elected official and Bob is a TV news anchor.

(1) Is Bob playing to Brian's emotions to just get a good news story? To get Brian to spill his guts and then tell all in an "exclusive"?

(2) Support is one thing, but Bob encouraging Brian to continue as a county commissioner is irresponsible. He crossed the line.

(3) Brian is not an effective county commissioner or leader at this point in time. He has a mental illness, and Bob knows he does because he is offering his own shrink to Brian.

(4) Who leaked these emails to the public? Were they on the public domain website where news media has access to them? If so, why do that when you know other media can read them? That doesn't make sense unless you want to fan the flames and be part of the news story.

We now know that both of these individuals have very poor judgement. That's dangerous for a news anchor and even more dangerous for an elected official.