ONLY ON 3: DSS investigates situation at Commissioner Berger’s home
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Department of Social Services is investigating tonight what’s been going on at a New Hanover County Commissioner’s house. Brian Berger has also had police officers show up at his house twice recently. He says he’s caught in the middle of another couple’s messy divorce.
Berger says he just found out that his live-in former fiancee’s divorce wasn’t finalized. And because she and her two kids have been living with him, he says he’s stuck in the middle of a custody battle now.
Berger says Wilmington Police have shown up at his house at least twice. The latest was Saturday night after his girfriend’s sister called 911 to investigate a “domestic disturbance” according to the police report. Officers showed up a short time later, and, according to the report, they talked with both Berger and girlfriend Heather Blaylock and reported that after the interview everything was OK. But texts from Blayblock’s cell phone tell a different story.
Earlier that night her sister’s fiance Adam Nicoletti texted her: “Yes it could be dangerous for you & the boys but its more dangerous for u to stay.”
A former police officer, Nicoletti suggested ways for her to get help and leave the house
Nicoletti says he received this response from Blaylock’s phone: “I can do that but not until I move out and if I call the cops while I am still here it could be dangerous for me and the boys.”
Fifteen minutes later, another text from Blaylock’s phone says: “He is watching every move I make right now. Am scared to even put my phone down cause he will read the texts. Wont let me call anyone.”
And then this text from Blaylock’s phone around the same time her sister called 911, according to the police report: “And when he gets mad he throws out or breaks my and the boys’ things so I cant get him mad while my stuff is here.”
Berger told us explicitly the texts are being taken out of context. He claims he’s been dating Blaylock, even proposed to her, and she recently moved in with him. Berger says he believed that her divorce from her husband Richard had been finalized, but then recently discovered that it wasn’t. That’s when he says he got the engagement ring back. But, he says, Blaylock still lives with him because he didn’t want to throw her out during the recent winter storm.
We also learned Thursday that a complaint has been filed at the Department of Social Services by Blaylock’s family to investigate the conditions Blaylock’s children experienced while living with Berger.
The county commissioner told us by phone that there have never been any problems involving the kids and that they aren’t at his home now.
We called Berger this afternoon and repeatedly invited him to talk with us on camera about these incidents. He refused, but then e-mailed us this statement saying: “Your allegations are baseless and inaccurate, stemming from a private divorce I’m not informed on… You have been apprised that such allegations are inaccurate, at best taken out of context text messages perhaps.”
Berger then threatened to sue us if we ran this story.
We also called Blaylock this afternoon, but she didn’t return our call. Late this afternoon we learned that DSS has ordered her to take a drug test. It also said the children are not allowed back in Berger’s house until it’s deemed safe and gave Blaylock’s husband Richard indefinite custody.