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State Bar still conducting investigation into grievance against New Hanover County Chairwoman

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 2:23 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina State Bar (NCSB), the state agency tasked with regulating lawyers, is continuing its investigation into New Hanover County Commission Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman, a process that could take until December, a letter obtained by WECT revealed.

Gary Holyfield filed a grievance with the state board in June after months without contact from Boseman. He initially hired Boseman to represent him to sue the state following the death of his daughter in a car accident, in order to get guardrails installed on I-140. He paid her $20,000 upfront and thought all was well only to find out, following a WECT investigation, that Boseman has supposedly retired from law.

The process of investigating a licensed attorney, outlined by a letter from the NCSB to Holyfield, is not one that is rushed or taken lightly.

In a letter to Holyfield, Robert Weston, deputy counsel for the NCSB, provided a general update as to how the process works and what can be expected after the initial investigation wraps up.

“The grievance will then be forwarded to the chair of the grievance committee for his review,” Weston wrote. “If he determines the evidence does not show a violation of the rules of professional conduct, it will be reviewed by another member of the grievance committee. If that member concurs then the grievance will be dismissed at that point. If the chair of the grievance committee believes the evidence may show a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, then the grievance will be sent forward to be considered by the Grievance Committee at its next available quarterly meeting. The Grievance Committee will then review the grievance and determine whether the evidence establishes a rule violation by the applicable burden of proof and, if so, what discipline if any is appropriate.”

Holyfield said he was initially worried his complaint was going by the wayside, but after speaking with the NCSB, he is confident that his grievance is getting the attention it needs.

As for the lack of communication with his former attorney, Holyfield said that even after the complaint was made, he has not spoken to Boseman, but he has no intention of giving up his fight.

“It’d be nice to know but at this point right now, no, I’m not even worried about her reaching out because I am in full swing of this whole investigation until it comes to a complete – now whether it takes 2-3 months, I’m not giving up – we were just done wrong … No, I’m not giving up on this,” he said.

Holyfield also spoke about the fact that none of the county commissioners, apart from Rob Zapple, have acknowledged the allegations against Boseman.

“She’s a member of that team and if you have a member of your team that ain’t acting right or stuff is coming out then that’s going to take a whole look at that team,” he said. “So if it was me and I was sitting on that board I’d be asking what’s going on also, I’d at least have a talk with her and find out what’s going on but like I say, that’s going to be on them. To me, I’d look into it, but it’s all going to come out.”

WECT reached out to Boseman’s attorney, Jim Lea, but as of the time of publication, he has not responded.

Boseman herself told WECT not to contact her again about this case.

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