Funding for concert denied to Hispanic Fest

By Michelle Provencher 8:38pm, September 20, 2013 - Updated 10:56pm, September 20, 2013

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"We are contemplating that before the weekend is over there may be a head rolling."

That's City Council member Maria Cabrera speaking of the controversy surrounding taxpayer money spent on security at a music festival last weekend.

Cabrera tells WDEL Wilmington's Hispanic Festival had to pay for its own police presence last weekend, a cost detrimental to its fundraising.

Less than an hour after Cabrera's interview, Mayor Williams announced the exit of his Chief Strategy Advisor, Velda Jones-Potter.

Jones-Potter's son, Brandon Potter, is one of the founders of the company that organized and promoted the hip-hop festival.

Some might suspect preferential treatment - Jones-Potter's husband is State Rep. Charles Potter, Jr. who is Mayor Williams' cousin - but Cabrera says she doesn't believe this was negatively motivated.

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"We do not believe - looking at this without all the details, without all the facts - that this wasn't done purposefully with any mal-intent. We do believe that this may have been a bad call."

Rather Cabrera says police officers weren't initially signing up to work at the Foxtail Festival, so rather than cancel the event due to lack of security, the city sweetened the deal.

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"Because of the urgency of whether canceling the event or moving forward, they did do the sign-up for the time-and-a-half which the city was putting it out there as we need police officers for this job."

Cabrera says she is particularly upset the Hispanic Festival carried a huge expense hiring security.

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"I, as a member of the Hispanic community and as a councilperson, my initial reaction was I was very upset. These people are struggling now, in the red, because they did not get any city services that they used to get, but they have always paid for police and fire. And then another festival received this special treatment."

Cabrera says the council has requested an accounting record of employing police for Foxtail, and a special meeting to discuss the incident is scheduled for September 30th.

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