New Canaan Police finally Arrest A Parent for Hosting Underage Drinking Bash

Update 5-13-13 12:30pm: The New Canaan police have finally released the name of the parent charged with a felony for delivery of alcohol to minors. It is Nils Erik Berg, age 56, of 501 Spring Water Lane. Apparently when the two arresting officers brought Berg into the station for processing someone in the NCPD decided they’d let him go for the night, with no bail and a simple promise to appear on May 20th. He is married to Luz A Berg. After asking for two days, NCPD’s youth officer Carol Orginc finally confirmed for me Berg did not have to spend time in jail even though Sargent Milligan specially told me and my boyfriend Friday night the Dad would be spending time in jail.

The Berg’s are from Argentina and bought their 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath 3,569 square foot house in 2003 for $810,000. They have two daughters, Martina and Sofia Berg. Martina graduated from New Canaan High School in 2011 and her facebook profile says she attends NYU. Sofia is under 18 and Martina is under 21.

NCPD says Nils told them he threw a party for his daughter and her friends and served them alcohol and then a lot more kids showed up with their own alcohol. It’s illegal in CT, even on private property, to serve alcohol to anyone but your own kids.

 Martina Berg (right) with friend posted Nov 2012 on Facebook

Martina Berg (right) with friend posted Nov 2012 on Facebook

If this is a first offense for Nils (CT case-lookup shows no criminal record in Connecticut), my bet is the State offers the father Accelerated Rehabilitation and in a year his felony arrest is erased. The NCPD can claim they arrested a parent and are doing their job. But besides a few thousand dollars spent on a defense lawyer and his name in the local paper, that’s likely the only penalty Berg will face. Which begs to question why we have this new law if it’s just used as a slap on the wrist?

Original Text
The New Canaan police just arrested a parent for hosting a large underage drinking party on Spring Water Lane. It happens the be the street I live on and after hearing screaming and yelling coming from the street I called the cops. We live at the end of a beautiful quiet street, with forest and streams between the homes, so to hear this type of ruckus was something rare.

When I walked half an acre to the end of my drive way I saw the whole street was packed with unfamiliar cars with groups of 3 to 4 teens in the cars or walking towards them carrying beer cans. I couldn’t tell if they just decided to have a block party on the street or something was getting broken up. Three boys stumbling together towards their car threw a beer can at my 6 month old puppy who was barking from all the unusual action on the street. I thought I saw one car back into another as the teens blared their music and yelled a new location for their next party spot. By the time the cops got to end of Spring Water Lane most of the teens had run off, likely drinking and driving. But the cops did find the parent home cleaning out beer cans and got him to admit he had allowed the party. NCPD Sergeant John Milligan came to my front door at a little after 11pm to tell me the father who hosted the party would be spending the night in jail. It’s estimated over 50 kids were at the party and the street was dirty with beer cans for about half a mile.

This would be only the third parent charged for hosting an underage drinking party in New Canaan since the State passed a law in 2006 that allowed the cops to arrest parents if they can prove they knew an underage drinking party was occurring in their house. In 2011 Laurie Underwood, of Weed Street in New Canaan, was given only an infraction and her daughter Avery was charged with a felony for having a fake id and for delivery of alcohol to minors. Avery had told her mom to hide in the closet when the cops came. Avery was able to plead out on her case and after a period of time her charges were erased from her adult record.

It will be interesting to see what the New Canaan police actually charges this parent with. I have never met the man so I can’t report his name and the officer didn’t tell me. Sergeant Milligan did say if any of the teens at the party tonight get in an accident the parent would be liable.
External resource on the signs of alcohol abuse


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  1. This “father” should charged to the fullest extent of the law. Contributing to the delinquency of minors and putting everyone in the community in severe jeopardy. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if it was a sleep over and nobody was driving. But the father didn’t even attempt to keep everything in house. He probably thought that his affluence gave him privileges “above the law.”

    This is the kind of nonsense that we have to put up with here in Los Angeles. Let us hope that he gets a little bit more than a slap on the wrist.

  2. I think it’s interesting the police officer let you know they had made an arrest. I have wonder if you had not been so vocal about this issue in your reporting work if they’d have even made the arrest. I hope no one got in an accident last night leaving the scene.

  3. I bet the cops let the parent out today and the charge will be for show. Then the Norwalk assistant state’s attorney lets him off with an AR deal. Until the police and ASA pursue a parent for doing this in the courts then nothing will change.

    Every week we see a teen arrested or given an infraction in New Canaan and Darien for pot or drinking but it does nothing to curb parents supporting it.

    • Teri Buhl says

      Julie – I think we have to give Sergeant Milligan some credit for arresting the parent instead of just issuing an infraction ticket.

  4. Haha… the US is a crazy place.

    We have on one hand citizens shouting about a Police State coming into being, then on the other hand we have the citizens engaging in their own police state by calling the cops on neighbors

    Isn’t it perfectly legal for minors to drink on private property? Or did the police state citizens call for an end to that in Connecticut by changing the law?

    Hey kids, beat the repression and come to Europe instead.

    • Teri Buhl says

      Nat in CT it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink. There is a loophole that parents can have some discretion of their own kids drinking in their home but definitely not other peoples kids like the 50 plus kids at this New Canaan parents house. They were teens under 18. It’s the cops job to arrest a parent for hosting a party and then allowing kids to leave his property drunk, which is up to a felony charge in CT if any of the teens got hurt at the party or afterwards. It not the cops job to interpret that law that’s what the courts are for. It’s there job to carry out the law that we created through our legislation. My issue is with these local cops… far to often I see them act has a judge instead of what they are very well paid to do – implement some form of rule of law.

    • Nat:
      The thing to remember here is that there is a difference between how teenagers seem to behave in Europe and the US (really!) and it is societal. I have worked for European banks for over ten years, and neither my international colleagues nor I have an issue with a teenager having a drink at home and acting responsibly. The issues we face in the US all too often are 1) teenage binge-drinking and 2) drinking and driving. The fact that parents allow the drinking in their homes AND then allow the kids to drive is a tragic one. The father in question is setting a really bad example, taken even further by cleaning up after the kids. In my day, I certainly would have been the one stuck with that job!

    • In Europe it is unlikely that minors own cars, and perhaps it isn’t such a liability for minors to drink. I know children who have caused the death of another person because of drunk driving. They destroyed their families, and those of the deceased, and haven’t even begun to live as an adult.

      They will have to live with that the rest of their lives. I would consider that a fate worst than death. No parent with a good conscience should contribute to the intoxication of children, and the dangers of drunk driving. Children can be impulsive and careless, parents and supervising adults in general, are responsible and liable for their actions.

  5. Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by accident, and I really like it so I bookmarked it.

  6. spring water lane resident says

    Thank you for doing the right thing and calling the cops Teri we need more journalist like you. I had no idea we had a reporter with your credentials living on our street. Underage drinking is a big problem in this town and I hope parents who live on our street think twice about allowing something like this to happen again.

    I just donated $50 to your website and think parents who are frustrated with the government officials in town doing little to stop this should donate also.

  7. BOBBABITZ says

    Finally NCPD does something other than get free alarm service, free event passes, free sports tickets, or hang out at Zumbachs. Keystone cops at best. the only group that tells more lies than the obama administration. The wonderful NCPD crew.

  8. Sensible Towns person says

    A lot of the assumtions are a bit bold. Teens might not be legal to drink but they aren’t driving drunk and usually have desinated drivers. And the photo from facebook is just another example of you invading someone elses privacy.

    • Teri Buhl says

      I was an eye witness to teens stumbling to their cars and driving away intoxicated. The facebook photo is on a public facebook page which is also linked to in this story. Martina made it public there is no invasion of privacy. I am always amazed at teens publicly posting photos of them drinking underage but they do.

  9. I am amazed that you think that you are so above these people and that you are so great that you can invade their privacy and mock them in front of the town. You should leave these people alone and not publicize this family’s embarrassing incident. I am in high school and was at that party. The dad did not give out alcohol. It just says that on the police report because he knew it was happening and he was therefor liable. So much stuff happens like this in NC so you should get used to it. The bergs were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. And also. If you don’t want tobe harassed maybe don’t walk up to a buch of drunk teenagers and act like you are better than them. A lot of those kids were legal adults and can handle themselves.

    • Teri Buhl says

      This is comment is from someone who made up an email address and did not ID them self but their IP address used to post the comment does track back to New Canaan. It’s telling if it really is the mindset of New Canaan high schooler… who thinks it’s ok for parents to allow underage people to drink in their home. That’s why we created the law. It doesn’t matter if you server the alcohol, hosting an alcohol party is just as bad and just as illegal.

      I love this line “So much stuff happens like this in NC so you should get use to it”

      That’s basically saying our parents have been helping us up break the law for a while now so it shouldn’t be talked about because breaking the law and creating alcohol addicts in the their teens is the norm.

      This teen apparently needs a lesson in government civics…an arrest is a public record and will always get reported. It’s scary if these teens are being taught an arrest is a private matter.

      I guess the teen also thinks if you are 18-20 it’s ok to drink and drive.
      Is this the typical teenage high school mind in New Canaan?

      • sensible says

        I like your news publication, but it is not a “loophole” that a parent can allow their kids to consume alcohol. In fact responsible alcohol consumption is a key skill which you really want your children to learn from their parents instead of from their fraternity pals.

        The drinking age of 21 is a relic and incites binge drinking because it makes alcohol the forbidden fruit.

        So this poor guy gets arrested because he wants his children to have a party at home with adult supervision.

        Don’t worry the next time the kids will do what they always do which is to drink at a park somewhere and then drive drunk home.

        Ridiculous. I am a big fan of your work though, sorry for the contradiction.

  10. When I look back on my early drinking/drugging days there were several parents, adults, and even one high school coach, that condoned our drinking and drugging – there was one father that gave us pot – of course, we thought these people were pretty cool; but, they were just like us – immature, entitled and irresponsible. For whatever reason, they just wanted us to like them, at OUR expense.
    What we really needed were good, strong role models that were able to show us, through their own behaviors, how to be successful in life; Spiritually, Emotionally, Mentally and Physically.
    We needed good people to help us be good people, so that we could pass it on and make the world a better place, for all of us.

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