Local News

Person DA quits amid investigation of alleged wife-hiring scheme

Posted May 16, 2017 3:57 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2017 6:54 p.m. EDT

— Wallace Bradsher submitted his resignation Monday as district attorney for Person and Caswell counties as a state investigation continues into allegations that Bradsher and another district attorney had hired each other's wives for no-show jobs.

The State Bureau of Investigation last summer began investigating the offices of Bradsher and former Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer. The SBI's findings were turned over to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office in December, but no charges have been filed in the case so far.

Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said he was stunned by Bradsher's resignation.

"Our guys, all of our personnel, have been doing business with the DA's office on a daily basis," Jones said Wednesday.

Bradsher declined to comment on his decision, and his staff handed out a copy of the email he sent to Gov. Roy Cooper. In addition to informing Cooper of the resignation, it highlights some of his successes as district attorney.

"We've done quite a few roundups, we got a lot of drug dealers off the street, our crime rate has gone down, and we contribute that to the work that both offices have been doing," Bradsher wrote in the email.

Jones praised Bradsher's work, saying the former defense attorney fought as hard to support his deputies as he previous fought against them when representing criminal defendants.

"He was a very tough attorney," the sheriff said. "Our guys will tell you that they became better officers because he was so well prepared. So, we had to be prepared."

A former employee in Bradsher's office tipped off the SBI to the alleged scheme and filed a whistleblower lawsuit in February after he fired her.

The lawsuit alleges that Bradsher hired his wife, Pam Bradsher, as a legal assistant when he was elected in 2011, despite a memo from the state Administrative Office of the Courts that judicial branch employees couldn't hire their spouses. Blitzer was elected to his first term in 2014 and immediately hired his wife, Cindy Blitzer, as a legal assistant, according to the lawsuit, and the two women "swapped jobs" a couple of weeks later.

The former employee stated in the lawsuit that she never saw Cindy Blitzer in the office and that Blitzer was enrolled full time in nursing school at the time.

Wallace Bradsher called the allegations "scandalous lies" at the time the lawsuit was filed and said he would fight the suit.

Jones said his department had a great working relationship with Bradsher's office, and he's concerned about who will take over.

"There's just a whole lot of unknowns. Until somebody is in the position, we just don't know what's next," the sheriff said.

Craig Blitzer resigned in March.