Tom Berg
Photo: Emily Metcalf

A spokesman for City Council member Tom Berg is denying a police report that says Berg was intoxicated during a verbal confrontation with U.S. Secret Service agents and Honolulu police at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation event November 22.

Police were summoned after agents prevented Berg from re-entering the Hale Koa Hotel to retrieve his cell phone, according to a police report on the incident.

Berg left the hotel after attending a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama, then attempted to re-enter because he had left his cell phone inside, according to the police report and to his City Council office manager, Phil Lee.

Berg did not have the appropriate credentials to re-enter the hotel and became verbally abusive when Secret Service agents stopped him in the “safe zone” outside the hotel entrance, according to a report on the incident released by HPD.

The report said Berg appeared to be intoxicated.

“Tom was not drunk at APEC,” Lee said.

He had been in a group that was shuttled to the Hale Koa from Kahala, where he had left his car, according to Lee.

When Berg left the Hale Koa to catch a return shuttle, the vehicle wasn’t there and when he reached for his cell phone, he realized that he had left it inside the hotel, Lee said.

“He was only a couple feet from the door when he did an about-face to go back in to get his phone” but the agents “refused to let him go back inside,” said Lee.

A police officer retrieved Berg’s phone for him and called a cab to transport the Council member back to Kahala.

It’s the second incident in as many weeks involving a public display of temper by Berg.

At a November 17 meeting of the Waipahu Neighborhood Board, Berg engaged in a verbal sparring match with board chairman Rito Saniatan.

Berg repeatedly tried to speak about the Honolulu rail project when that issue was not on the board agenda. He said he was invited by three board members to attend to give an update on the Honolulu rail project and possible alternative transportation technologies.

Police were summoned in that incident, too, but no charges were filed.

Berg represents the Council’s 1st District, which runs from Ewa Beach up the Leeward Coast to Makua.

He was elected as a “Tea Party” candidate a year ago in a special election to fill the vacant District 1 seat on the Council after Todd Apo left to work for the Disney Aulani Resort.

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