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Archive for August, 2013

Brian Berger accuses the county of discrimination as new details emerge about his amotion appeal

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Former New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger has filed an employment discrimination charge against the county.

Berger claims he was harassed and eventually forced from office because he has autism; meanwhile there are new developments in his amotion appeal.

Berger’s autism first came to light when his attorney mentioned it during Berger’s May 20 amotion hearing when county commissioners voted to remove Berger from the board.

In the complaint filed last week with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Berger accuses the county of violating the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act.

Berger marked boxes for “retaliation” and “disability” as the reasons why he feels he was discriminated against.

In the complaint Berger states, “I was subjected to harassment and intimidation and discharged because of my disability and in retaliation for participating in protected activity.”

County spokesman Charles Smith says the county has not yet responded to the charge.

Meanwhile Smith says the judge handling Berger’s amotion appeal has granted the county’s request for a protective order to stop Berger and his lawyer from gathering information from the Wilmington Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office about Berger’s arrests, as well as from deposing Commissioners Jonathan Barfield and Woody White.

The county argued it was pointless to gather more evidence, when it cannot be presented at this point in the process.

Also on Monday, both the county’s and Berger’s attorneys filed supplemental briefs in the appeal.

The county says it did not deny Berger’s due process rights and gave Berger every opportunity to dispute the claims against him during the amotion hearing, but Berger’s attorney says commissioners did not provide adequate notice of all the rules for the amotion hearing.

The county again detailed many reasons why commissioners wanted to remove Berger from office, including arrests for domestic violence, driving while impaired and his frequently erratic behavior, which all made for a hostile work environment for county employees.

Berger’s attorney contends those claims do not rise to the level needed to remove an elected official from office.

We tried to talk to county commissioners but the only one we were able to get a hold of was Commissioner Barfield who said they were instructed not to comment by their attorney.

We also reached out to Berger’s attorney Chris Anglin but he wasn’t available for an on camera interview. He did however say that a ruling on the amotion appeal should be made in September.

More: continued here

UPDATE: Suspect in deputy-involved shooting now in jail, had weapon charge dropped last year

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 23-year-old man shot by a New Hanover County Deputy last week is now in the New Hanover County Jail.

Darius Hester was booked around 7:00 P.M.

Court documents show Darius Hester has been accused before of having a weapon before, but the last time he got out of it.

Hester was scheduled to make his first appearance in court this afternoon. He did not make it, because he was still recovering at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Hester is charged with attempted first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a government official.

The Sheriff’s Office says Dep. Joshua Cranford was on patrol in the Rockhill Road area in Castle Hayne Friday when he encountered Hester. According to an arrest warrant, Hester took a 9 mm semi-automatic Luger from his waistband and tried to shoot cranford.

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the SBI, which is handling the investigation into the shooting, are not saying what led to incident. Dep. Cranford is on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

The suspect’s younger sister, who did not want to go on camera, says Hester was shot in the back right shoulder, like he was “walking away.” She said she was able to see her brother briefly Friday after the shooting, but has not seen him since.

Court documents show Hester was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia in July 2012. His file also shows that he performed 10 hours of community service after his arrest and also had to follow an overnight curfew. The district attorney later dismissed the charges.

More: continued here

NC lawmakers ask for bills after center report

Monday, August 19th, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – State lawmakers want more restrictions on how public money is distributed to nonprofits and accounted for in light of critical reviews of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.

The panel overseeing the legislature’s government watchdog organization asked agency staff Monday to draw up draft legislation likely debated next year. The recommendation followed State Auditor Beth Wood’s presentation on last month’s audit on the center.

The audit found grant reporting requirements weren’t carried out, job creation measures for grant recipients failed to be verified and pay of then-President Billy Ray Hall was unreasonable.

Panel members sounded most unhappy with $20 million the center collected in interest from unspent state funds. Wood says there are no rules on whether the state or nonprofit gets the interest sitting in private bank accounts.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More: continued here

Berger files discrimination charge against county

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Leaders in New Hanover County have new claims to consider from the elected leader they removed from office earlier this year.

More: continued here

‘Sleepy Hollow’ films in Wilmington, Pender County this week

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Sleepy Hollow is hitting the road and heading to Currie this week.

More: continued here



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