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Durham Commissioner Speaks Out on Personal Issues, Won't Resign

Posted December 13, 2007

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— Durham County commissioner Lewis Cheek's private struggle with addiction became public Thursday when he explained why he's missed so many commission meetings.

Cheek, who admitted that he was a longtime alcoholic, said he was burnt out over the past year between the duties of his law firm and the Durham County commission. Cheek said he relapsed and went to a retreat for alcoholics for six weeks last spring.

Cheek said he checked himself into a hospital in September for treatment for depression and alcoholism, then he suffered another relapse in November 2007.

"I won't make any excuses for that. I'm an alcoholic. I have always tried to be honest about it and I've never tried to hide it," he said.

Cheek, who nearly ran against former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong last year, said he will reimburse the county nearly $6,000 in salary for missing the meetings. Several key votes were postponed this year because of his absence.

In February 2007, Cheek left his law firm that he helped start four years ago.


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  • iamforjustice Dec 14, 2007

    Dang and so close to Christmas and New Years...this is the wrong time of year to try to quit drinking...hiccup

  • nc resident Dec 13, 2007

    I'll drink to that.........

  • catch22 Dec 13, 2007

    making white people look bad since the first day in office

  • alx Dec 13, 2007

    its already interferred,, resign

  • whatelseisnew Dec 13, 2007

    Being a drunk is not a disease. Quit making excuses for drunks. Since the guy seems unable to get himself under control he needs to do the right thing and resign. If he should ever get his problem fully under control, he can always try this again. Durham has enough problems without this kind of stuff going on.

  • yukonjohn3 Dec 13, 2007

    Let us without sin cast the first stone. Alcoholism is a disease, and anyone can have it. Its a shame he is not still a "functioning alcoholic" and could continue his term. Best Wishes for him, he has a tough row to hoe.

  • TheAdmiral Dec 13, 2007

    '"I won't make any excuses for that. I'm an alcoholic. I have always tried to be honest about it and I've never tried to hide it," he said.'

    Ya know - I don't seem to remember this when he was elected. Chirping like a bird about his alcoholism...

  • iamforjustice Dec 13, 2007

    I don't think drinking caused his problems, his problems caused him to drink...fix the problem and your drinking will be just fine...hiccup

  • MarcoPolo Dec 13, 2007

    Yeah- Meg and Jim are gone but it was the Feds who got Black not the state officials and not their own voters. I think the feds got Phipps too but don't hold me too it.

  • MarcoPolo Dec 13, 2007

    From someone who LOST a family member to alcohol, it leads to moral corruption. It's about ethics and lying. Doesn't matter whether his wife or he left first- the issue was that the bond was broken as a result of his interests. Kids were involved.

    He is a nice man. I never heard of him not taking care of the family but he is NOT honest. If he was honest, he would've come forward years ago. If he was honest, he would've given up his office. Imagine how many times he's been forced to do stuff he didn't want to do for fear of blackmail? Like he said, he's a new man today.

    One thing I've learned through the Clinton era, is that if your a Democrat you don't care about moral/ethical issues. It's the end result which counts- doesn't matter how. Look at Black, Phipps, etc. Those were leaders who refused to leave office too. They are made into heros and defended by the "so what/big deal" crowd.

    If you're a repub and you do something wrong- you're on your own and screwed by all