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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

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Call me cynical....

but it looks to me like Bob Townsend is setting Berger up. Bob is trying to get Berger's confidence and trust so when Berger completely melts down and does something crazy, good ole Bob will lead the 6 o'clock bleed with his big story! Bob has been watching too many reruns of "Lou Grant".

I agree wholeheartedly. Bob

I agree wholeheartedly. Bob Townsend is a news reporter. Amazing how he's willing to insert himself into the story to get the scoop.

What Mr. Townsend does off

What Mr. Townsend does off the air is his own business. Nowhere does it state that he is representing WECT or anyone else other than...Bob Townsend. I agree with the others who posted...that was pretty low.

Cue the Violins!

Brian Berger is a classless disturbing individual! I'm going to go ahead and preface my comments by saying I know all parties involved here personally. I know Brian, I know Heather, I know both the boys and I know THEIR FATHER! Yes, that's right, you read it here first folks. I know their father who, contrary to what sad stories Brian uses to try and make himself look better, WAS THE FIRST MAN THEY CALLED DAD! Not Brian. It absolutely disgusts me that this man is using these two innocent children to create a sob story for himself that makes him look better. These boys have a wonderful father that they see every other week as Heather and their father have 50/50 custody. HE NEVER ABANDONED THEM!!! Brian is the one that had had not one but TWO DSS cases opened against him since January regarding these boys! The boys weren't even allowed to be anywhere near him per DSS as they felt Brian was unsafe. And as for the boys crying and all that nonsense? I have shared a car with those two kids and have heard myself stories about Brian that have had me on the phone with their mother almost in tears! (Who takes away space heaters from a 5 and 3 year old as punishment and leaves the house so cold you can see your breath? A sick man that's who, Brian.) Brian Berger blames everyone for his current state but himself. It's the commissioners, its the police, its Heather, its always someone other than him. Reading this and knowing what Brian tells people to try and pull on their heartstrings and make himself look better makes me want to cry. This man should be in a padded room, not in a position of any power.

Hey people - feel sorry for

Hey people - feel sorry for these two guys all you want. The point is, it's VERY inappropriate and unprofessional for a reporter / anchor / journalist to have this kind of conversation with a politician, especially when it's saved for all of the world to see.

How can you take Mr. Townsend seriously now if he ever interviews Mr. Berger? How can you take WECT seriously when they interview ANYONE now?

It's okay for people in TV news and at the newspaper to have friendships with people in powerful positions, but they also have to know where the line is, and remember they may have to report on these people too.

lowest of the low

OMG, just when I think y'all can't sink any lower you do. I've never been a big fan of Bob T. but I AM NOW. I've found myself watching WECT at 6 more often even though I like Chris and Jerry on your station.

Hey Scott, why don't y'all go up to Bladen and cover a REAL scandal instead of obsessing over Brian?

Email fro Bob to Brian

I feel these emails were meant to be private between two adults with compassion due to bing in similar situations. What was gained from the person who had the emails published? BORDERLINE PERSONALITY is not a simple thing to live with and we all have our own trials and tribulations that we must face. I hope the publisher of this information will have to walk a mile in the shoes of a person with borderline personality disorder so they can feel the world crashing around them as they are picking up the pieces of their own broken heart.

You people have no shame

So now you are not only going after Brian Berger, but the competition?That's low. You have never had personal issues? You must live in some utopian fairy tale where everyone is happy and sings koom by ya. I hope you get sued for displaying protected health information. Just because you can doesn't make it right.

WHAT "protected health information?"

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, do you? When a subject VOLUNTEERS personal information on an e-mail server that is open for public viewing, you think that is somehow "protected?"

BTW, Beth - everyone has trials and tribulations in their life. The key is that you manage them and control them as best you can. You don't trip off line and become a raving loon.

Protected Health Information

This was disclosed NOT by her, but by BRIAN. THerefore she didn't put out anything on a public server. For that, Brian and WWAY should both be ashamed.

WWAY could have blacked out the part of this lady's alledged diagnoses. They CHOSE not to because they want to milk this email for all of its worth. Therefore in my mind they broke HIPPA laws right and left. While BRIAN had no right to tell something like that, at the same time WWAY had no right either. At the very least they could have blacked it out. Quite frankly this alledged diagnosis is no one's business. What if it is or not true? This poor lady is going to hve a hell of time finding a job in the future now should she need it.

protected health information

I urge you to rethink your wording of "POOR LADY," who ever said Heather is poor. Is that not a cry from you to give sympathy to her? Does she require our sympathy? I think not.
She started this whole mess by not looking before she leap in love with Brian. Heather has a responsibility to her children not to jump in the sheets with an inappropriate person.
She also is the person who cried foul to the cops. That got this ball rolling. In the end she will, as she does now, look like a 'Poor Me' woman on her pity pot.
If the law worked properly Heather would be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, because of her careless morals and movements.
I don't feel sorry for her. She is a spoiled woman and a trouble maker.

You are exactly right about

You are exactly right about her responsibility to her children to not connect with an inappropriate person. Perhaps she could do better if she stopped finding all of her men on Craig's List, which is where she "met" Brian, and the others before him. What I don't get is why she stayed with him after the January episode that became so public (if she doesn't want media attention, as she claims), and why she would subject her boys to living without heat in that house; and then he takes away the space heaters as "punishment" for a 5 and 3 year old so that it's so cold that you can see your breath? And, still, she stayed for months??? WHY would she subject her children to life with this man? Obviously, she cared more about her relationship with him than she did her boys' welfare. I've known her since she came to UNCW. She is a totally self-absorbed person; her world is all about Heather & being the center of attention and ALWAYS the victim. Their father should have the children 100% of the time, not just 50/50.

Agreed

I too have known Heather since she arrived at UNCW (she dated a close friend of mine) and I am very sad to see that nothing has changed. Her life seemed to be an unending litany of tragedy and I felt very sympathetic towards her until I realized that most of these tragedies were self-inflicted. I normally wouldn't bring such information up, but the children are being very negatively impacted by her decisions. They deserve a stable and safe environment, which can only be provided by the father. Furthermore, the father has been falsely accused of abandoning the children when the custody is 50/50, and frankly, should be 100% with him. I hope that the two troubled individuals involved in this situation admit they have issues, seek help for those issues, and cease to interact with one another. It is quite a shame that this had to end up in the media (and I dislike WWAY's histronic and tabloidesque tone), but Berger brought this on himself and dragged Heather into this.

I believe that Heather

I believe that Heather Blaylock could have easily created all of this chaos in hopes to get herself some much needed attention (in her eyes). She released her text messages to the media in hopes of making herself look like a victim. I am of the opinion that she is a Drama queen, who's playing the single Mom role, not like a champion but like a cry baby.....what a pityful example of a single Mom, the good one's are strong and protect their children from all of this non sense. Grow up Girl and quit playing Victim!!!!!!! You were hoping to get lucky with someone of influence ( so you thought) so you could live the highlife. Pay attention to your children and stop all your drama. Most people create their own problems and then expect everyone else to pick up the pieces, too bad people can't take responsibility for their actions.

Earth to Beth....Earth to Beth.....

Brian Berger is not restricted by HIPAA. WWAY is not restricted by HIPAA.

Why don't you take the time to find out what covered entities HIPAA does restrict?

* Health care providers
* Health plans
* Health care clearinghouses

Doesn't Matter

Who gave WWAY the right to splash that all over the internet, true or not? If you think it isn't a big deal why don't you list your illnesses? I am waiting.

Wow, just when I thought

Wow, just when I thought that we reached the lowest point of venal political backstabbing, this "news item" gets released.

Here's a solution. Let's give Brian a 30 day paid leave from his commission seat and bring in Jerry Springer to teach sensitivity.