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Charles Warren files federal suit against former county colleagues

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Former Brunswick County Commissioner Charles Warren has filed a federal lawsuit against several county leaders after he says he was publicly humiliated.

County Commissioners met in a regular session last night to discuss many topics, but they did not discuss the lawsuit.

WWAY has obtained a copy of the suit filed in US District Court.

Warren is suing several former and current commissioners, including Bill Sue, Phil Norris, Marty Cooke, Scott Phillips and Pat Sykes, who defeated Warren in last year's Republican primary. He is also suing County Attorney Huey Marshall and County Manager Marty Lawing.

Among Warren's claims are violations of state Personnel System laws, "neglients" (sic) by the county manager, not following protocol regarding sexual harassment complaint and that the county discriminated against county employees who filed sexual harassment against former DSS Director Jamie Orrock. Warren also claims the defendants "created a Code of Ethic (sic) and Conduct that would remove blacks off of DSS Board," as well as "Conspiracy to remove blacks from DSS Board by abuse of County Commissioner's officer power, corruption."

Warren's suit also claims that the son and daughter of Sykes work for the sheriff's office "in violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethic (sic)." He also argues that the fact Chief Deputy Charlie Miller works for the sheriff's office and is a member of the county's school board is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

Warren's filing includes a letter on the letterhead of the Bolivia-Brunswick County Black Leadership Caucus, of which he is chair, requesting a federal investigation into the county commission. In the letter, Warren outlines the issues involving Orrock and claims Marshall interfered to protect Orrock. Warren describes the men as close friends.

Warren then writes that the conduct and ethics code commissioners adopted was "aimed at silencing me and my supporters on the DSS Board." He says when he refused to leave the DSS Board as required under the code, "County Commissioners resorted to retaliation."

"I have continued to endure public humiliation and retaliation because I refuse (sic) to step down as Chair of the DSS Board," Warren wrote. "I have been the recipient of attacks in the media that were intended to make me look incompetent and unworthy of someone holding the position. I was censure (sic) and removed from the DSS position and voted out of office."

In his suit, Warren requests an investigation US Marshals from outside of Brunswick County. A spokesman tells WWAY the Marshals Service does not handle this sort of investigation, instead it focuses on fugitive, sex offenders and other specific kinds of cases.

Warren also seeks restitution for himself, another former member of the DSS Board he says commissioners dismissed from the post and the "three ladies who file (sic) sexual harassment charges."

Those named in the suit would not talk to us. We were also unable to get in touch with Warren for comment.

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