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Archive for January, 2012

Berger found guilty of violating protection order

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

New Hanover Commissioner Brian Berger was found guilty Tuesday.

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CONSTANTLY UPDATING: Berger on time for court; Follow the hearing via Twitter

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger made it on time for court this morning. He’s charged with violating a protection order taken aout against him by his former girlfriend, Heather Blaylock. Last year, he showed up at a Head Start meeting claiming he didn’t know that was the same location Blaylock teaches at. The hearing was originally scheduled for last Friday, but Berger didn’t show up and was later arrested for “failure to appear.”

Judge Holt would not allow cameras in the courtroom but Katie is Tweeting updates. We’ll be updating this story as she sends updates or you can follow us at www.Twitter.com/WWAY.

Berger’s mental evaluation completed ; deemed competent to stand trail. Results not public.

Berger entered a not guilty plea. Heather Blaylock first witness. Says Berger knew she worked at HeadStart

Thom Goolsby (Berger’s attorney) says address listed on public forum notice lists wrong address for HeadStart building on N. 6th Street.

HeadStart Executive Director Cynthia Brown says she immediately questioned the appropriateness of Berger attending the meeting Nov. 21

Brown says Berger was not a representative for the county commission at the meeting.

Brown says Berger came to the meeting after the public hearing portion was completed.

Sgt. Curtis Barnhill with NHC Sheriff’s Office on the stand; says he spoke to Berger about attendance at meeting.

Barnhill says Berger said he assumed Blaylock wasn’t at meeting because of her kids.

Barnhill says he warned Berger he could have been arrested if Blaylock had been present; Berger said he was doing his job as commissioner

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Industry recruited for Brunswick-Columbus site

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Officials with the company were in North Carolina Monday to meet with Gov. Beverly Perdue.

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Berger appears in court again

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger has entered a plea of not guilty.

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Burr one of two votes against Congressional insider trading bill

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC (WWAY) — North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr was one of two votes Monday against a bill that would make it clear that insider trading laws apply to lawmakers.

The Senate voted 93-2 Monday to clear the way for consideration of amendments and – sponsors hope – final passage later this week of the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act. Burr and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) were the only votes against the procedural motion.

“Sen. Burr voted against cloture on the bill because there are already laws in place to address this critical issue,” Burr spokesman David Ward told WWAY. “Laws regarding insider trading that apply to the American people also apply to members of Congress and their staff. Members of Congress are elected to serve the people, not make money for themselves, and any member or staff member who breaks the already existing insider trading laws should be held responsible.”

The STOCK Act would require disclosure of new stock transactions on the Internet within 30 days and explicitly prohibit members of Congress from initiating trades based on non-public information they acquired in their official capacity. The legislation, at least partly symbolic, is aimed at answering critics who say lawmakers profit from businesses where they have special knowledge.

US lawmakers already are subject to the same penalties as other investors who use non-public information to enrich themselves, though no member of Congress in recent memory has been charged with insider trading. In 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department investigated then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s sale of stock in his family’s hospital company, but no charges were ever brought against the Tennessee Republican.

Voters may believe lawmakers who are paid an annual salary of $174,000 are enriching themselves – especially if those voters saw a segment of CBS'”60 Minutes” in November. The show questioned trades by a House committee chairman, the current speaker and his predecessor’s husband. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all denied wrongdoing. Bachus chairs the Financial Services Committee.

The Senate bill would prohibit lawmakers from tipping off family members or others about non-public information that could influence a stock’s price, in addition to the explicit ban itself. And it would direct the House and Senate ethics committees to write rules that would make insider trading violators subject to congressional punishment.

House leaders are working on a more expansive bill that would include land deals and other non-stock transactions. A vote is expected in February.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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