Barber’s county copier complaint handed to ‘white collar’ prosecutors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SALISBURY — A complaint from county commissioners against Commissioner Jon Barber has been moved to a special prosecutors’ program for “white collar” crime, Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said Wednesday.
Cook said her office made the decision in December to hand the case against Barber over to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys Financial Crimes Initiative.
“They will be reviewing the matter and making any type of decision in regards to the investigation,” Cook said.
Commissioners voted in December to send the findings of an internal investigation against Barber to Cook’s office. County leaders said Barber made thousands of copies for personal use on the county’s dime and continued to make copies after he was warned to stop.
Barber has said the investigation was a political maneuver to silence him about his criticism of the board majority. The copies, he said, were made for county events and other community efforts.
Cook said the financial crimes organization is made up of prosecutors who help local authorities expedite pecuniary probes.
“As you can imagine, white collar-type investigations can take a lengthy amount of time and resources to properly investigate,” Cook said.
The program was created last year “to advance the prosecution of non–violent criminal offenses motivated by an attempt at personal or organizational financial gain,” according to the initiative’s website.
In a voice mail message Wednesday, Barber said his attorney’s assistant contacted him to discuss the next steps of the case. Barber said he had not heard further details and did not comment on the investigation.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.