By Chris Carl 6:43am, September 29, 2013 - Updated 3:31pm, September 30, 2013As Wilmington City Council gets ready to meet in a special session regarding the issue of special services provided to a for-profit Riverfront event, the person at the heart of the controversy is responding.
Velda Jones-Potter, former chief strategy advisor to Mayor Williams, has sent a letter to city council.
In it, she asks that council expand the list of people being questioned on the matter, and she names names.
Jones-Potter says several members of the mayor's administration, city police, fire and public works departments and even the mayor himself should be called to answer questions.
Jones-Potter goes on to say she is "disturbed" by the format of Monday's planned meeting, believing city council has already determined something inappropriate took place.
Jones-Potter was relieved of her duties by the mayor after it came to light that a for-profit concert organized by her son received extra city police details at no cost.
City Council's inquiry into the matter is scheduled for 5 p.m Monday. WDEL will be there.
VELDA JONES-POTTER'S LETTER TO CITY COUNCIL
To: President Theopalis K. Gregory and Members of Council
Fr: Velda Jones-Potter
Re: Council’s Sept. 30 Inquiry of Facts Related to the FoxTail Festival
I am writing this in response to your release of information concerning individuals requested to appear at the inquiry and ‘What Council wants to learn from the session’.
In order to conduct the fact finding necessary it is important that the full spectrum of individuals with information pertinent to the issues at hand be among those requested to appear before the committee. Your list fails to include the following individuals who were present at meetings and otherwise involved in a way that may cause them to have information pertinent to this issue. I respectfully ask that they be included among those requested to appear.
- Tiffany Christopher, Special Events Coordinator – Mayor’s Office
- Tonya Phillips, Manager of Cultural Affairs - Mayor’s Office
- Kenny Briscoe, Director of Communications – Mayor’s Office
- Yvette Rouse, Promotion & Event Manager - Riverfront Development Corp.
- Sherman Lewis, Security – RDC
- Dan Zier, RDC
- Bud Freel, Councilman – City of Wilmington
- Sgt. Transue – Wilmington Police Dept.
- William McKim, Wilmington Fire Department
- Samuel Baise, Public Works Department
- Cory Ferrell, State 1 Security
- Ryan Robinson, Owner ‘Lavish’
- Dennis P. Williams, Mayor – City of Wilmington
Further, I suggest that it would be appropriate to invite representatives from FoxTail Fest and afford them an opportunity to speak in as much as they are accused of receiving services inappropriately.
I question why opportunity for public comment is not provided. This matter has been aired publicly from its very inception. It is the use of public funds that is at question. I suggest that the public should have opportunity to comment on this issue.
While I understand there will be additional questions asked during the inquiry, I am disturbed by what are presented as the “four major questions that must be addressed at Monday’s session”. The questions seeking information related to who made decisions to provide services seems entirely appropriate. However, I take exception to the questions inquiring “When will the City be repaid by FoxTail …” and “Are there sufficient safeguards in place to ensure….process will not be tampered with or circumvented in the future?” If this is to be a fair and transparent inquiry for the purpose of fact finding these questions are inappropriate. Implicit in the questions are assumptions that 1) monies are in fact owed the City by FoxTail and 2) that the event permitting and review process was tampered with or circumvented. I believe such conclusions should await the facts that are brought to light at Monday’s inquiry.
The comments in your release indicate that this matter is ‘hampering the operations of the government’ and that it is a ‘distraction from daily operations’. I have served in government twice and therefore I know firsthand the challenges and urgencies it faces. Further, no one wants to have this matter concluded in a timely manner more than me and my family. That notwithstanding, of greater importance than a ‘concise inquiry’ with swift closure, is a fair, thorough and transparent process that reveals the facts and gets to the truth.
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