BERLIN — Looking to quiet what he referred to as a “whispering campaign” by political enemies, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams spoke out Monday at a Mayor and Council meeting about rumors that he said have recently been circulating in the community portraying him as a reckless alcoholic.
“I don’t know if I should be flattered or offended by these rumors because for them to be true I would have to be a 64-year old superman, and one of the most influential elected public figures in the nation to cover up all of these rumors,” Williams said.
There actually only seems to be one rumor, continued Williams, but one that is animated and constantly changing in reaction to facts coming to light.
“The rumor has evolved into different versions all based on the allegation that I have an out-of-control drinking problem that has resulted in serious misbehavior or illegal actions on my part in recent months or possibly on New Year’s Eve,” the mayor said.
Specifically, Williams spoke to three separate versions of a rumor that he has a drinking problem that has gotten out of control this holiday season. In two versions of the rumor that Williams said he has personally heard he “allegedly drove [his] car into a ditch along the roadside in Delaware and was charged with a DWI.”
One tale has the crash taking place several months ago while another is supposed to have happened on New Year’s Eve, said Williams. He tasked anyone with checking into his criminal record for evidence of a drunk-driving arrest. An Internet search of Maryland’s Judiciary Case database failed to produce any serious arrest records for the mayor.
As for such an incident happening on New Year’s Eve, Williams said that such a rumor was even more asinine since he spent most of the night in Berlin with more than a thousand witnesses playing the announcer during the night’s ball drop.
“I don’t think that in any way my public appearance on New Year’s Eve before so many people was made in the state of drunkenness, so that I could be a living, breathing example of what I was asking everybody else not to do,” he said.
The final face of the rumor that Williams acknowledged Monday was that he had been ejected repeatedly and barred permanently from a local establishment. Williams argued that it is even shakier than accusations of drunk-driving since misbehavior in the popular tavern would have been impossible to hide.
The source of these rumors comes from those who disagree with his politics and choose to express that through personal attacks, according to Williams.
“I find these silly rumors a classic example of when adversaries can’t successfully attack the message, so in desperation they resort to attacking the messenger,” he said. “I believe that these recent rumors say nothing about me but speak volumes about the people who have concocted such outrageous baloney to either protect or serve their own political purposes or agenda.”
Williams refused to provide names publically to avoid adding fuel to the proverbial fire.
“I trust you will simply recognize these rumors for what they are: local politics at its dirty worst,” he said.
Williams added that he perceives Berlin to be at a crossroads between new ways and the old.
“We are at a critical time in making some very important, long-term decisions that would determine if we continue on our path of preparing for a more promising future or if we bow to those who wish to turn back time to when Berlin was a great place for a few but held little appeal or promise for many …”