WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – It’s been nearly a week since allegations regarding New Hanover County Commission Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman were made public and on Tuesday, the first time the board has met since then, Boseman once again refused to comment.
After the board meeting, WECT asked Boseman if she would like to make any comments on the allegations that she took $20,000 from a grieving father who hired her to sue the state and never filed any lawsuit on his behalf.
Although she did stop briefly, Boseman was not willing to answer any questions about the story.
When asked if she would be willing to speak with a reporter, Boseman simply said, “no.”
When further pressed for a comment, Boseman did stop to reiterate what she had previously told WECT.
“I said no,” Boseman said. “I can’t comment on anything regarding my law practice. I emailed you that and I told you that. Please don’t contact me again regarding anything like that.”
It’s not just the media Boseman is not speaking to about the situation. Fellow County Commissioner Rob Zapple said he has not heard anything about it besides from news reports.
“There is a lot of concern that we are waiting for some kind of explanation so that we can then move forward,” Zapple said. “So far, there hasn’t been one.”
As for the man who hired her and paid her $20,000, Gary Holyfield said he was never notified that Boseman was retiring from law, and only found out after Boseman responded to WECT, saying that she had stopped practicing law in January of 2021.
Despite her comments on retirement, Boseman’s law license is still active with the North Carolina State Bar, and questions have been raised as to whether or not she actually retired in January as she said. The confusion comes after Carolina Beach Fire Chief Alan Griffin voiced his concerns about what he saw as Boseman possibly overstepping her jurisdiction and a conflict of interest, in the immediate aftermath of the Paradise Cove Condominiums fire.
That conflict of interest was due to the fact Boseman had called Mayor LeAnn Pierce the night before Griffin sent his email of concern. Boseman told Pierce that she would be representing victims of the fire, which Griffin thought could potentially be a conflict.
“The second concern being that I had received a phone call the night before from Mayor Pierce stating that Ms. Boseman had informed her that she was legally representing several of the property owners in relation to the fires,” Griffin said. “I felt that this was a conflict of interest that Ms. Boseman was planning on coming with the NHC Building Inspectors to tour the property of clients she is legally representing.”
The fire happened in April, months after Boseman says she retired.
When asked about her possibly representing fire victims in April, Boseman did not mention her retirement from law. Instead, she issued the following statement:
“First of all, Carolina Beach is in New Hanover County and this certainly is not a jurisdictional fight. I’m sorry if their feelings are hurt but if they’d been doing their jobs I wouldn’t have had to go down there and respond to a fire alarm for friends who live in the complex because they weren’t home and they were terrified. Can you imagine seeing your neighbors jumping out of windows? I have numerous friends who live in the complex and didn’t feel safe going back in their places so I asked the County Manager what to do and he sent down inspections to see if we could help. That is my job and my privilege, to help people. As far as who I may be representing, if anyone, is attorney/client privileged.”
WECT emailed Boseman asking for clarification on her retirement, but at the time of publication has not received a response.
As of now, the State Bureau of Investigation is not actively investigating Boseman’s actions. However, it has been made aware of the allegations and if the State Bar decides further criminal investigations need to happen, it will be up to the state to handle it.
WECT reached out to other members of the Board of Commissioners but, at this time, no-one else has responded. An attorney representing Boseman was reached following the publication of this story. He said he is unable to comment on the allegations due to the nature of NCSB grievances.
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