SBI agent fired for drinking fights for her job back

A veteran State Bureau of Investigation agent has been fighting for her job back after the agency fired her for allegedly drinking while on duty.

Late last month an administrative law judge upheld Christine Brewington’s dismissal, saying her claim that a friend must have had the five drinks over a late lunch was not credible. More likely, Judge Fred Morrison found, was that Brewington had two mixed drinks and the friend three beers, which she paid for on her personal credit card.

She can appeal the dismissal to the state Court of Appeals. Brewington, who is the former wife of SBI Assistant Director Mark Brewington, denies she had any alcohol to drink and contends the agency failed to thoroughly investigate, including not interviewing a key witness.

Testimony indicated that Brewington was working with a state pharmacy board investigator on a case in Lillington in 2014, when they went to lunch together. The pharmacy board investigator, who was working on her first case, offered to pick up the lunch tab but said she could not pay for alcohol, referring to two pink drinks in goblets that she said Brewington ordered. The agent didn’t object or say the drinks weren’t alcoholic, she said.

Near the end of lunch, a friend of the SBI agent joined them and ordered beer, according to records. The pharmacy investigator didn’t mention the incident to anyone until she told another SBI agent eight months later at a training event in Raleigh. That agent reported it to his superiors, and that led to an internal investigation and Brewington’s firing last year.

Brewington told an internal affairs investigator that she drank two non-alcholoic “Sprite Delights,” according to records. Morrison, in his ruling, described Brewinton’s defense as “That Other Dude Did It,” which he said was not credible.

Christine and Mark Brewington were divorced by the time of these events, she testified. He was promoted to assistant director in 2013. Her firing was approved by then-Deputy Director Janie Sutton, who is now the acting director of the agency.