I had a similar issue with a "notes" field, and a workaround that seemed to work well was to convert the field and cap it:
SELECT convert(VARCHAR(8000), a.Notes) as Notes
In my case, Notes was a VARCHAR(MAX) data type, and my error message was "out of memory". (My database SQL Server, driver Sybase). You might try this or see what happens if you use:
That would at least tell you if the error is coming from some crap data in that field, assuming the crap data isn't the first character.
The above is "worth a shot" but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't reveal the problem.