Legal assistant claims she was fired for reporting alleged scheme by DAs to hire each other's wives
A legal assistant in North Carolina has filed a whistleblower suit claiming she was fired for telling state investigators about an alleged scheme by two district attorneys to hire each other’s wives.
Debra Halbrook claims District Attorney Wallace Bradsher of Person and Caswell counties fired her last month after he concluded she must have been the informant who contacted the State Bureau of Investigation, report WRAL and the Greensboro News & Record.
The suit (PDF) alleges Bradsher and Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer conspired to hire each other’s wives. The women would be allowed to work only a few days each year, while earning a combined total of nearly $100,000, the suit alleged.
The suit says Bradsher hired his wife in 2011 and Blitzer hired his wife in 2014. The wives swapped jobs a few weeks after Blitzer hired his wife, according to the suit. Bradsher’s wife quit her job after Halbrook asked why she was making more money than her, despite never showing up to work, the suit alleges. Bradsher later fired Blitzer’s wife after feigning a discovery that she wasn’t working full-time, according to the suit.
Halbrook says was fired in January, just a few months before her 20-year work anniversary, which would have entitled her to a retirement pension and health-care benefits for the rest of her life.
No charges have been filed against the DAs or their wives. The suit claims a judge reviewed a preliminary report by the State Bureau of Investigation and referred the matter to the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, but the office said it had no authority to bring a criminal action absent a proper request from the DA.
Bradsher issued this statement: “The scandalous lies that I have read today in a lawsuit filed by a former employee are deeply disappointing and hurtful, especially this former employee’s attempts to disparage her former co-workers.”