But someone else did. Peter Romary is the general counsel and partner of a risk management, investigations and screening firm founded by multiple former CIA agents, and he filed a petition in the Pitt County Superior Court to obtain the security footage last Friday, the day before Gerlach resigned.
The footage showed Gerlach driving out of the parking lot taking up space in two different lanes, even though he previously said he broke no laws that night, but rather just ended up in a bad position.
"This is not what we were led to believe had taken place on that night," said T. Greg Doucette, an attorney in the Triangle who was a student member of the Board of Governors while in college.
He said he thinks it’s weird the UNC System investigators didn't take action on the tapes after they learned about their existence on Oct. 14.
“But then nobody looked at them until Friday? That just doesn't sit right with me," he said. “My cynical side says they knew they were bad and didn't want to know.”
An anonymous source started leaking the videos to multiple news outlets on Saturday, telling WRAL they wanted to be identified only as someone “close to national police organizations who were not appreciative of Gerlach implying he was set up or framed somehow with assistance from members of law enforcement.”
The owner of one of the bars Gerlach visited on his night out said, "the guy came in with some off-duty cops to have some beer,” according to texts sent to a reporter for The Daily Times. Conspiracy theories have emerged on Twitter claiming the police, or a prostitute, intentionally led Gerlach into a position where he could be compromisingly photographed.
In an interview with Pirate Radio, Gerlach said he would never blame the officers he was drinking with, but said the speed with which the pictures ended up on the internet led him to believe "There's something going on here rather than kind of random, some kind of random event."
Romary, the attorney who filed the petition before either the UNC System’s outside firm or Gerlach’s attorneys, was representing the Police Benevolent Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police when he filed the claim for the videos, but a spokesperson for the PBA of North Carolina told The Daily Reflector "PBA doesn’t have any cases assigned to attorney Peter Romary at this time,” but the spokesperson also said Romary has worked for them in the past.
And this isn't the first time Romary has been involved with the Board of Governors' business.
During a search for a new Western Carolina University chancellor last year, one Board of Governors member, Tom Fetzer, a lobbyist from Wilmington, asked Romary and his firm to look into a discrepancy he said he noticed in the final candidate’s resume. In a column originally published in the Raleigh News & Observer, he said that he briefed fellow board members on Romary’s findings privately, rather than in a public setting and received criticism for that from other board members.
In an interview with N.C. Policy Watch, Fetzer admitted to having a conversation with former system President Margaret Spellings about the possibility of him being the interim Chancellor at WCU.
The Board of Governors didn't make a public comment about the progress of the investigation into Gerlach's conduct, and Ronald Mitchelson, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, is serving as the new acting chancellor.