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WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Further accounts about brawl at Wilmington restaurant involving Tom Gordon's top aide

On the "Rick Jensen Show" here on WDEL - and in a NEWS JOURNAL Page One story - we get more about the April 13th fight at Pastabilities restaurant in Wilmington's "Little Italy" section.

New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer Dave Grimaldi insists funeral home employee Carl Arcaro triggered the incident with a racial outburst about African-Americans serving in the new Gordon Administration.

Grimaldi insists he told Arcaro to shut up.

Arcaro says otherwise. He claims things got ugly when the topic of the conversation turned to the Mafia. Grimaldi concedes they DID talk about the Mafia, but that's not what provoked the fight. Arcaro says the alleged racial slurs never made it into the official police report. Grimaldi replies he's mentioning the racial slurs now because Arcaro has been portraying Grimaldi as the guy who started the fight. (The racial undercurrent could be related to a struggle for control of the Wilmington Democratic City Committee.)

Whatever words set off the brawl - which damaged a portion of the restaurant in the process - Arcaro bit Gramaldi's hand and the men started swinging at one another.

A witness, Alfred "Izzy" Izquierdo, appears to corroborate much of Grimaldi's version of events. Arcaro appears to have been heavily drinking. ("Izzy" and Arcaro WERE friends.)

Arcaro faces criminal mischief charges from restaurant owner Luigi Vitrone for the property damage.

Incredibly, it's not as though another person in the restaurant picked a fight with Grimaldi. Grimaldi and Arcaro were dining together!

The most relevant part of this episode for public policy: The fact that Grimaldi telephoned New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting, even though he was within the city limits -- the Wilmington Police Department's jurisdiction. Setting took Grimaldi for medical treatment of his bleeding hand.

At least one Wilmington City Councilman - Mike Brown - calls for a review of the incident because of the jurisdictional issues.

Sure, the new Williams and Gordon Administrations are working for the city and county police to respond in each other's jurisdictions when incidents occur along the city--county line (logical), but Wilmington's "Little Italy" neighborhood is not exactly along that line. And the deal doesn't call for the police chief from the other department to be summoned. But Mayor Williams and his people are unlikely to squawk (at least publicly) about this incident because of their political alliance with the Gordon Administration. Neat, huh?

To the Gordon Administration's critics, this is just one more example that this administration marches to its own drummer, just like when Grimaldi promptly reversed the ban on county employees smoking near the county's three office complexes.

And for all the Gordon Administration's talk of transparency, were any "deals" under discussion here?

Another public policy issue: In Gordon's absence, should Grimaldi or New Castle County Council President, Rev. Chris Bullock, function as the "Acting" County Executive? Or, in this world of modern telecommunications, can Gordon just call the shots from afar the way that Governor Markell still does when he's out of the country? (Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn doesn't become "Acting" Governor; Delaware doesn't have a restrictive statute on the Governor's powers the way New Jersey does. Remember when Governor Markell declared a State of Emergency during a Delaware snowstorm when he was in Europe?)

Some critics want Gordon to sack Grimaldi. That may explain why Grimaldi decided to take the public offensive at this time.

The latest wrinkle: How did Grimaldi get his hands on the officer's report about this incident that Grimaldi subsequently shared with media? Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning has called for the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System to investigate. Hmmm... Maybe the lovefest between the Williams and Gordon Administrations won't extend down to the respective police departments.

In an ironic twist, all hell broke out for Gordon while the county executive was in Rome to see his wife's choir at the Vatican. You can't make up this stuff.



Posted at 7:35am on April 24, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

teatime
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 8:03am

I say you have Grimaldi and Arcaro go at it again, live on pay per view. All proceeds benefit the ASPCA in Delaware.


Arthur
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 9:47am
You got to hand it to old Tom; he can pick 'em. It may be a good idea to have Tom send some NCCo police out to trail Grimaldi to make sure he's not up to no good.

kavips
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 3:29pm
Just on a personal note, I'd call my guy too, instead of trusting a stranger, if I were in a similar situation...

I don't think I'd give jurisdictional matters a thought, until later when someone else brought them up in order to make a big deal out of it...

Just from anecdotal experience, if they were talking about the Mafia, as both contend, then there is a 99.99999% chance that racial slurs soon followed.

muggsy
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 5:46pm
I KNOW BOTH THESE FINE PEOPLE. I HEARD FROM MY PEOPLE IN LITTLE ITALY THAT BOTH WERE DRUNK AND STARTED ARGUING ABOUT STUPID STUFF. I THINK BOTH SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF THE JOBS THEY HAVE. I THINK BOTH OUGHT TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SEE ALL THE PEOPLE THEY LET DOWN. TIME TO MOVE ON MY HOT-HEADED ITALIANS. I THINK TOM SHOULD BRING BOTH TOGETHER TO TRY TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE.


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