WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Brian Berger has made few appearances at meetings of the New Hanover County Commission the last six months. His attendance in New Hanover County Court, though, has been far more regular.
Berger made appeared by video feed from the New Hanover County Jail this afternoon to face a probation violation after he was arrested earlier this week in the mountains.
A judge decided to keep Berger’s bond at $300,000. He is due back in court June 24 to determine if he violated his probation. If he did, he faces at least 120 days in jail.
A violation report filed Monday says Berger had not been heard from since May 21 and could not be found at his last known address at the Jameson Inn in Wilmington. It also said he has not completed the required 48 hours of community service and that he refused to take drug test last month after admitted he had used marijuana. The report also said Berger was charged in Johnston County in March for driving on a suspended license.
New Hanover County Commission Chair Woody White said he hopes Berger gets the help he needs.
“The citizens are under served when there’s 4 people on a 5 person board. The deliberative process is frustrated. And that is just the way it is and you know we are doing the very best we can under very difficult circumstances,” said White.
Beech Mountain Police found Berger in a home belonging to Justin LaNasa Monday after a neighbor reported gunshots in the area. They later found Berger was wanted for the probation violation and went back to arrest him. They found him surrounded by several weapons, which LaNasa says had been locked up and that Berger did not have access to.
Even if a judge determines Berger violated his probation under a plea deal for a DWI and drug possession charge, Berger can still remain a New Hanover County Commissioner. That could change, though, if LaNasa decides to press charges for Berger breaking into his gun collection. If convicted of a felony, Berger would lose his seat on the commission.
Commission members reiterated their request for Berger to resign.
“I think that request has been ongoing since the problems manifested themselves so extremely last year but our primary concern was and always has been the safety of our staff and those concerns have abated,” said White.