New Hanover hires attorney to handle Berger’s appeal

Tags: , , , , ,

Submitted: Mon, 07/01/2013 - 3:54pm
Updated: Mon, 07/01/2013 - 3:56pm

By Ashley Withers

WILMINGTON, NC ( — The price just went up for New Hanover County on former Commissioner Brian Berger's appeal.

The county has hired outside counsel to represent them during the appeal proceedings. A cost estimate for the services was not immediately available Monday morning.

Up until this point, the county's team of three staff attorneys has handled the case. Now the task will fall to Greenville-based lawyer John Martin with Ward and Smith, a law firm with five locations across the state.

Click here to


  • Guest757 says:

    When this all started we (the taxpayer) were told it wouldn’t cost us anything. That you would use the lawyers on staff. Now, We want answers why did you hired another firm?

    This isn’t going to go away with some answers.. we are tired of being told one thing and then government officials doing what they want..

    Tax payers want answers !!!!!

  • Monkey Junction says:

    It is time for Woody White to get out of politics. If he had any decency, he would resign today.

  • Common Sense says:

    Here’s another point. He’s just as much danger to everyone now as he was before. Removing him did nothing to help with that issue. They should have just let this ride out and let the people vote him out next year.

  • Guest1022 says:

    And who are you to demand an answer from the County Rulers.

  • Rick Wilson says:

    If it was not such a serious issue, White’s witch hunt would be laughable. He admits in an interview on WWAY that he was unsure of all of the facts and is still unsure of all of the facts. He then chose to dust off an ancient process and bend it to fit his agenda. The only transparency here is that 3 sitting Commissioners led by Woody White chose to bypass the electoral process and remove one of their own. What is not transparent is why.

    He then promised it would not cost anything because he would use attorneys already on the payroll. A politician that lied should not be a surprise to anyone………

    The Amotion Hearing consisted of 3 Commissioners acting as judge, testifying witnesses, jury, and executioners. Why didn’t any of the terrified women employees that Commissioner Dawson spoke so passionately about testify? Why was Brian Berger not allowed to face his accusers? Why didn’t we hear what caused this terror? I guess when you are allowed to write the rules for “Kangaroo Court” as you go along, anything goes.

    Here are some facts:

    Brian Berger did not disrupt Commission meetings, most of the time he just sat there quietly and cast his vote.

    The waste of county funds Brian Berger was accused of and berated for by Councilman Wolfe was proven false. Was it Woody White that gave Mr. Wolfe the false information? Do any of these officials research anything prior to putting their mouths or tax payer dollars into action?

    Woody White blew the so called “situation” with the Governor out of proportion. I can assure you if the Governor felt threatened or even slightly appeared to be threatened, his security detail would have responded and detained/body slammed Mr. Berger. Since this did not occur, why did Woody White and the press choose to make such a fuss over nothing? Are they suggesting the Governor’s security detail is inept?

    Woody White spent over $125,000.00 to get elected. This is a new record and approximately $50,000.00 more than had ever been spent previously to be elected a County Commissioner in NH County. It makes me wonder if he is still his own person or a puppet whose strings are controlled by others………. And, if Titan is one of his puppeteers, do we want foreign corporations buying/controlling our elected officials?

    One of the conspirators (Mr. Wolfe) in this amotion process was not elected to this council, he was appointed. If Mr. Berger’s removal is upheld, another member will be appointed making 2 of the 5 members not elected by the people they represent. This is an easy way to stack a council and bypass the electoral process.

    Some might consider the amotion process this Commission used to remove one of its members transparent. While the hearing might have been, the true motives behind the hearing were/are NOT. The “Triplets of Terror” appear to have night vision equipment while the rest of NH County is left in the dark………………….In most cases, I believe if you follow the money, the truth is not far behind…………….

    Mr. White, Mr. Wolfe, and Ms. Dawson are the ones who need to be removed from the Commission. Their actions prove that they do not have a problem in bypassing the electoral process. A commissioner that is acting like a self-appointed dictator and their co-conspirators should not be allowed to remain in any form of Government in the United States.

  • Mr.MoneyBags says:

    It’s time to run down this commision like a freight train in court!! Keep fighting don’t give up or give in to these represenatives of The New World Order!! I support you sir and today had my secretary send you a check to assist with your cause….

  • guesty says:

    If he had any decency. You must have forgotten his career… he is a lawyer.

  • Guest111 says:

    He is a citizen of the county and a voter. Those in office were elected to serve the citizens, not their personal agenda. We have the utmost right to know where the monies are going and if you have any sense at all you know we have been lied to and mislead repeatedly by the city directors and county commissioners.

  • Gustafo says:

    I’m so glad to see Wilmington reap the benefits of electing a New Yorker to a local political office.

  • Guest 1492 says:

    it’s highly unlikely you even have a secretary, much less a job.

  • Angewidert says:

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Vog46 says:

    How much of that $125,000.00 was in $5,000.00 increments from people listed as “homemakers” according to election records?
    Did their check have Greek Olive Oil stains on them?
    How many “homemakers” from New Hanover County can afford to donate $5,000 checks to a person running for county commissioner?


  • Mr.MoneyBags says:

    Your absolutely correct I do not have a job im a proud and very successful land devloper.. I give deadbeats like you “a job” wouldn’t doubt your on public assitance!!
    Berger For Governor!!!!!!!

  • Rick Wilson says:


    I do not have the exact count, I can’t find my research. It was quite a few and I wonder if all these donors would stand up to a SBI investigation while being questioned under oath? If I do not find my notes, I will go back thru his donors. The nice folks at the Board of Elections will show you how to look this up if anyone else is curious as to whom helped Mr. white set a new record.

    In this economy, it is nice to see so many homemakers have $5,000.00 to blow on a County Commission Candidate who now believes he was elected King/God/Dictator of NH County…….

    With Mr. White’s record setting donations, maybe he will foot the bill for the attorney instead of the tax payers……

  • jj says:

    I really hope he does. We need the jobs.

  • Vog46 says:

    After all the talk from Woody that it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything and that they’d use inhouse attorneys we have this.

    Woody – you out right lied. You are slime. No discussion with voters.
    Now you have lost all credibility.

    Whats next? Gonna approve Titan to build?


  • taxpayer says:

    can we sue for breach of fiduciary duty? After all, aren’t the County Commissioners fiduciaries of our tax money?

    In the end, it will still cost us less than Saffo’s ego-fueled baseball study(ies).

  • Guest100 says:

    Welcome New Hanover County taxpayer! This three ring circus is about to start. The cost of your mandatory ticket has yet to be determined. Ward and Smith PA is a high dollar and costly law firm. Something smells here?? Isn’t Woody White’s law office close to the Ward and Smith office on Racine Drive?? To be continued…

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Oh, now I know what it is; it’s the sound of taxpayer’s dollars going down the drain!

    What a bunch of jackasses! All they had to do was restrict him from any additional leadership duties and make sure he didn’t spend any more money or use up county worker’s time without approval. Wait him out (because he’s also a moron and shouldn’t be in office) and in a little while he’d be history. Instead, they had to go and act like a bunch of knee-jerk morons and do something so stupid it questions why they’re our “leaders” in the first place.

    C’mon people. It’s way past time to start doing some due diligence on those candidates we choose to vote into office!

    (And by the way, that includes $affo and cronies)

  • Vog46 says:

    Now that Woody has proven he’s a liar I don’t trust him to determine anything.
    As much as we may need those jobs I do in fact wonder what the trade off will be environmentally speaking?
    Then again the reason for the extension is because Titan is not ready. They are under severe economic pressure right now with Alexandria Egypt on strike (They have brought in scab labor but are hurting). The VA cement plant is operating at 40% capacity ro so.
    It will take a large upswing in concrete demand for Titan to start building here.


  • ooseven says:

    Jobs? Any of the decent paying jobs with Titan will be filled with labor brought in from other areas. The only jobs that locals will get are the low paying jobs which we already have plenty of here. There are plenty of people hiring locally but no one want to work for the pay that is offered.

  • renoGuest says:

    VOG you live in wilmington and seem to have much input on this issue,
    Why dont you run for office……..problems solved.

  • Vog46 says:

    I don’t need a third career……
    Besides electing one person does NOT solve the problem.
    Woody White disagrees with this mind you but…………


  • Guestobs says:

    Weasel White costs us honor and dollars. His past and present sleaze tactics shame all of us. Is he hiding something? Does he fear transparency? Have HIS actions in this matter been proper? Let’s hire an attorney to investigate White. Just more of Weasel White’s sleaze

  • Woody how did you get here says:

    Great idea. For those guys to be so scared of Berger, it makes you wonder what they are really afraid of. Vote Berger out? Not if he was to run against Woody White. White is a disgrace.

  • Guest 10101 says:

    with their own three staff attorneys, they never should have started up any of this nonsense in the first place. Duh!

  • Guest1022 says:

    It’s only money, the County has plenty and if they don’t they can always borrow it.

  • Guest111 says:

    An election would probably have turned out to be a lot less expensive. .

  • Vog46 says:

    Is going on?
    We were told it wouldn’t cost us anything?
    Then during the process, it became clear that the evidence presented by the County was very weak (as was Berger’s attorney) – with no direct testimony from the people who the county claimed felt threatened.
    Now – correct me if I’m wrong – there can be no change in the evidence presented – correct?
    So why does the county need an outside attorney?

    Surf City? You here today? Anyone have a clue?


  • SurfCityTom says:

    the County can not offer any new information. Given that the amotion documents are vague, they may have room to add. But what would they add which would further strengthen their case to remove him?

    He’s already proven them in error on the major points of their case?

    So what could they bring? Jaywalking? Sptting on the street?

    I think the reason they need an attorney is due to Berger remaining a member of the Commission. Whether they like it or not, he is. Only the superior court judge can rule to remove him.

    There’s likely some legal issue over the County’s attorney being used in an action against a standing member of the Council. That would be my guess.

    Don’t rule out the attorney working to get this resolved before the court date. That is Ward & Smith’s strength — bringing closure.

    Can we expect Woody to wrap his arms around Berger and plant a big kiss on his cheek?

    If this goes to the Judge, and he rules in Berger’s favor, which I think is his only option given the County’s case, you then give Berger grounds for action against the other Council Members.

    But again, don’t expect a quick ruling from the Judge. Certainly do not expect one at the conclusion of the hearing. Look for this to be taken under advisement; which in layman lingo means he will get to it when he feels like it and when it can not hurt him.

    Remember his earlier comments, the Council can not replace Berger until the Judge issues a ruling.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    I was wondering when this would happen. Actually, it took longer than I thought it would. It was obvious the powers that be could not enter this fray with general counsel ie the County Attorney.

  • Vog46 says:

    I take it from Surf City’s posts that the evidence is now cast in stone.
    So why hire an outside attorney? Now?
    Are they planning on losing the hearing and going to a higher appeals court and prepping the attorney for that?
    If so then they will have added to the time of the process until 2014 for sure making this all a useless exercise – because we will vote Berger out of office.

    The longer this drags on the worse it gets for White and the local GOP.


  • Vog46 says:

    “If this goes to the Judge, and he rules in Berger’s favor, which I think is his only option given the County’s case, you then give Berger grounds for action against the other Council Members.”
    For what and under what grounds?
    I was of the opinion that NC prevents anyone from suing an elected official – or does that just apply to state level elected officials?

    Ward and Smith may attempt to bring closure but if they are looking to settle I think Brian’s attorney would then see through the weakness of the County’s case and persue this to fruition…..


  • SurfCityTom says:

    I never mentioned sue.

    I said further action. Might he undertake an amotion action against Woody?

    Some months ago, he was literally willing to walk away if they continued his monthly stipend; continued his health insurance; and if you recall he wanted some type of public gesture of goodwill from Woody.

    Now, will the first act by the attorney be to request a continuance to allow him to “get up to speed” on the case? Good for Berger, they continue writing a check.

    Let’s not forget at some point he will need to seek other employment. Maybe head of WDI?

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Vog, I have no idea what the true thought process is in this ever expanding fiasco. I did have the feeling The Commission would go outside the county legal team. You are correct and I agree that more than likely this will go on for months if not longer unless the judge quashes the whole thing on the 16th and the commission accepts it. If Berger loses, could go on for a while.

    And think, what will happen when elections roll around. Will Berger even be on the ballot? If this is not resolved and he is not allowed to return to his seat, would he be on the ballot? It is a paradox. we are in the twilight zone. Then after the election, he wins and is returned to a seat that may not be there. could screw up the whole election. It is comical.

  • Vog46 says:

    Berger has outlived his usefulness as a politician so even if he did run he’d lose and badly so. His switch to the Libertarian party is a crude joke on the party itself.
    I see no need for further action past censure but apparently Woody did. It was this action that cemented it for me and now I vehemently oppose Woody White for any political office in future elections – as I do Brian Berger.


Leave a Reply