NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - WECT.com has learned there was a verbal altercation this afternoon during the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners agenda briefing.
The argument took place over the county's economic development policy and funding for WDI.
Commissioner Brian Berger says he was "poked" by another commissioner, whom he would not publicly name, during the verbal altercation. Commissioner Jason Thompson tells WECT.com that Commissioner Ted Davis is the one who wagged his finger at Berger and might have touched him in the process.
"I'm not sure as I would go as far as to say that I'm going to press assault charges, but I didn't appreciate being attacked the way I was," Berger said.
Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield tells us that Commissioner Ted Davis accidentally touched Berger by accident.
"He wasn't poked by Commissioner Davis," said Barfield. "Davis was waving his hands. It wasn't a poke at all."
Barfield said it all started when Berger was 25 minutes late to the meeting. He said this is the third time in a row Berger has been late. Then, when they got into a discussion about whether or not to fund Wilmington Downtown Inc., tensions really flared.
Berger was supposed to report to the board on this issue.
"He wouldn't give an answer," said Barfield.
It's not the first problems Berger has had with other commissioners. In April, Berger claimed he was being shut out of the political process in the county by other commissioners. He claimed that Commissioner Rick Catlin or someone else took part of his notes for one meeting. Catlin asked commissioners to inquire about a potential censure of Berger, but nothing has been said about that publicly since that point.
WECT.com has confirmed that no tape, audio or video, exists of this incident. County officials say they do not record agenda briefings.
When asked tonight if the board will censure Berger, Barfield said he's not sure what they will do.
"We've got one person right now who wants to do their own thing. It's unfortunate for citizens," he said.
Commissioners will vote on whether or not to fund WDI at Monday's regular meeting.
Commissioners will be in the same room again tomorrow morning when they meet with the school board. We will have a crew at the meeting and bring you updates throughout the day.
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