StarNews: Former commissioner Berger wanted $60,000 to resign

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Submitted: Thu, 05/30/2013 - 3:35am
Updated: Thu, 05/30/2013 - 11:53am

By Ashley Withers

WILMINGTON, NC ( — Everyone has a price and, after some cajoling, former New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger came up with his: somewhere around $60,000.

In a series of emails between Berger, board Chairman Woody White and a third party in the weeks before the amotion hearing May 20, Berger outlined just what it would take for him to resign.

According to the emails obtained by the StarNews, a third party approached Berger in late April after communications with White about possible acceptable resignation terms – a stipend and continued health insurance coverage for Berger. Though hesitant at first, Berger eventually spelled out what he would need to resign and agreed to a meeting with White.

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  • SurfCityTom says:

    this is not over yet; unless Berger rolls himself into an armadillo position.

    The county did not have the authority to remove him. Everyone seems to be overlooking this. Only a Superior Court Judge has the authority to validate the County’s actions or rule in favor of Berger.

    That may explain why his attorney performed poorly. He knows where the decision will be made. The County laid out its case; and poorly from what I saw and read.

    Berger and his attorney have the right to file for a judicial review; and they can do that on the 30th day. They also have plenty of time to review every facet of the County’s case; prepare counter arguments; and gather witnesses who will testify in Berger’s favor.

    Did you notice they are continuing to pay Berger; and I assume they are continuing his insurance as well as paying him his other allowances. They will have to do so during the appeal process.

    This case will not be at the top of a Judge’s pile of cases.

    As Vog and others have noted, this case could still be pending when the election roles around. And what a laugh that will be.

    Meanwhile Vog, why not start an amotion proceeding against White?

  • Vog46 says:

    I’d rather file a complaint with the NC bar (which is a possibility).
    I agree that a judge will make the ruling and with the court calender as light as it is in July it will be August before it might even be considered.
    Bergers attorney files for a continuance (and gets it) and you’ve lost 6 months already.
    At that point we’re talking November. (Candidates must file for re-election by November? Dec?)
    If Berger does not file for re-election (and I believe he will not) then White will have lost the war in spite of the “battle” because at that point it will be painfully obvious that censure was just as good an option.
    In my feeble mind White has lost already and Brian had lost a long time ago as well. If White loses in the next election, he may drag Dawson down with him.
    I wish that the news media outlets would STOP saying he’s been removed – he has not. That as you pointed out was NOT White’s decision to make.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the County continues to pay Berger his monthly stipend plus allowances until such time as he resigns (not going to happen) or the Judge confirms his removal.

    And since we live in such a litigous society, would it not be a hoot for Berger to file for damages against the County? White and Company will have no say on how that is handled as the County’s insurance carrier will decide whether to put up a stiff defence or fold the tent and make a payment to him.

    And maybe that is his Attorney’s plan.

  • Vog46 says:

    Re-read the article
    You said:
    “Berger had a third party approach White to more or less extort money through more threats of federal intervention via a lawsuit I am sure.”

    That is NOT the case according to the article above

    “a third party approached Berger in late April AFTER communications with White about possible acceptable resignation terms – a stipend and continued health insurance coverage for Berger.”

    The third party approached WHITE first.
    This is dirty stinking politics of the worst kind.
    White is an embarrassment to the NC GOP, and to politicians everywhere. The the NC Bar Assc should investigate him for unethical behavior.
    We WOULD have voted Berger out come the next election.
    I know one thing.
    White is now on the chopping block as well. If this story above is true and White and the third party initiated this then White was trying to buy Berger off OR trying to entrap Berger to make him look pathetic. BOTH scenarios are wrong wrong WRONG.
    I wonder if that third party was the local GOP?


  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Vog, You know just as sure as the nose on your face that this was a test to see if Berger would bite, he did and made himself look the fool he is even on a higher note. Berger can not even get out of his own way. He continues to make these allegations of corruption and he himself is exposing himself as a shakedown artist. I do not agree with all of the maneuvers to banish him from the board but enough was enough! Woody White made it his mission to get him expelled, was hell bent and determined to do it and so far has done it and done it legally though through an antiquated process. I just can not believe how stupid Brian is by not allowing his attorney to review or be involved in such discussions. But, as the Gumpism goes, stupid is as stupid does.

    Vog, yes I did read that wrong but the point is there was a middle man and things did go back and forth, you re-read what White said concerning supplying Berger with insurance and so on, The request from Berger for reimbursement of phantom charges, interest and fees, ect, ect, ect. Now I just learned who the middle man was. Tom Looney. It is all up to a judge now and that means more politics.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    should quote from the entire piece and nopt just the first page.

    He did not want a lump sum, apparently. What he wanted was continuance of his compensation, allowances and health insurance for the remainder of what would have been his term of office.

    The killer was his expectation that Woody White would stand next to him and give a public statement of support. That likely killed his proposal.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Tom, lump sum or drawn out. What’s the difference? Berger had a third party approach White to more or less extort money through more threats of federal intervention via a lawsuit I am sure. He more or less was fired with cause though that remains to be seen via a superior court judge. He is desperate. Why, when he has a meeting scheduled to determine his immediate financial future would he miss it. I would like to see his proof of his suddenly important psycho appointment as well as the receipts for all of his uncompensated expenditures he claims he is owed. He is a liar and White set him up to prove it.

  • Vog46 says:

    There is no doubt about that but what bothers me is that
    White set him up for this because he knew through the third party every step Berger was talking about.
    White, in effect wanted to publicly embarrass Berger and did so successfully I might add.

    This does not in any way shape or form change my argument.
    Berger will, or would, be removed by the voters in the next election. That is our job not White’s.
    White, for his part, is a lying political snake and has no business leading the County Commission in any matters.

    I wonder if this “third party” informed White of where Berger was drinking the night he got stopped for his DUI charge?


  • Monkey Junction says:

    Brian Berger has his issues but Woody White is the real danger to our county. If he had any decency, he would be the one to resign.

  • ilmNCnative says:

    Berger kept claiming that folks had bought their seats on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. He gets elected and wants to be bought OFF the Board. Wow.

  • Guest_Bull_Isht says:

    Not really ironic “ilmNCnative”… everything around here’s for sale. Heck, we just sold Smithfield to the Chinese!

  • Burgerboy says:

    Brian should hold out for more than a measly $60,000, he should demand at least $250,000 or say that he’s going to appeal that amotion thing that them commisioners illegally used to kick him off, that would have old woody white shakin in his shoes and crying like a babby i bet, HA!

  • Guesty101 says:

    Tea Party Republicans are awesome!

  • guesty says:

    He switched over to the libertarian party after he was elected. Now get out of my wallet you liberal.

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