Camden County Commissioner faced threats of violence following dispute at Commission Office

Mitch Prentice, Joyce Miller
Camden County Courthouse.

The Camden County Sheriff's Department was called to the Camden County Commission office early Thursday morning after threats of violence were made during a dispute.

Newly elected First District Commissioner James Gohagan says he was unable to enter his office this morning after walking into the commissioner's building and being barred from entry by upset members of the county maintenance department. Maintenance workers were allegedly angry over posts that had been made on social media about the condition of the office. 

Gohagan had welcomed multiple acquaintances into the building for a tour to showcase the condition of the building. They would later post images of the building on the Lake Area Happenings Facebook group, with comments on the condition in a negative light.

“... There are romex and data cables strung everywhere, whoever framed the new decks is obviously an imbecile (look at that joist hanger), there is mold and asbestos in the basement, and the whole place is dated to the max…” they said. 

On Thursday maintenance workers stormed the office, which is believed to be in connection with these images. According to Gohagan, he was met with threats of violence by the work, which he believes to be partially in connection to the firearm he keeps at his desk. Gohagan was not sure how they knew about the firearm, which was not publically displayed. 

According to Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms, two deputies responded to the quarrel. Helms said the department was made aware of an argument taking place in the county commission office. When deputies arrived, commissioners and staff from the maintenance department were involved in the argument. Helms said he has not received a full report of the incident but deputies were able to calm the situation down. 

Helms said the argument seemed to stem from a disagreement among the commissioners about the aforementioned information and/or photos of the commission office that had been posted on social media. Commissioners Greg Hasty, Don Williams and James Gohagen were involved in the dispute. 

Gohagan says he was able to reenter his office once deputies calmed the scene. He says he feels that he has had a rough start to his commissioner position, with only a tablet being given to him to work from. He says he has not received an office computer and had to personally acquire an office key. 

Gohagan says he and the other commissioners had a discussion following the incident and is confident they will continue to work towards seeing things eye to eye.