WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Invoices filed today with New Hanover County show that County Commissioner Woody White's attempt to throw Commissioner Brian Berger off the board cost taxpayers more than $68,000 in legal fees. That does not include hours worked by internal legal staff.
The original amotion hearing cost the county $25,000. Then a later appeal cost $42,000.
White held an amotion hearing earlier this year. White voted with Commissioners Tom Wolfe and Beth Dawson 3-2 to kick Berger off the board. Commissioner Jonathan Barfield sided with Berger saying he didn't feel comfortable going against the voters in the county.
Berger appealed and the case was sent to a business judge in Greensboro. The judge ruled that the board mishandled a couple of minor issues and ruled that it would need to re-do the amotion if it wanted to keep Berger out. However, at the next commission meeting, White decided that Berger could stay if he followed a list of guidelines.
In a cover letter to county attorney Wanda Copely, attorney John Martin wrote he usually bills at $400 per hour, but for this case he would reduce his rate to $295 per hour.