Wilm. City Councilmember demands Brown refund city

By Amy Cherry 11:48am, August 5, 2014
WDEL's Amy Cherry confronts Wilm. City Councilman Mike Brown after WDEL uncovered he flew first class to return for the override vote and lied about it.
One member of city council is calling for her colleague to return the money he spent flying first class to return for last week's override vote.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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"On a personal level, I think he should."

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That's City Councilwoman At-Large Loretta Walsh who wants Mike Brown to repay the $1,000 in city money he spent after WDEL uncovered he flew first class from Florida for a veto override vote that failed to cut funding for eight vacant positions within the Wilmington Fire Department.

Brown also lied to WDEL about his whereabouts.

"Unfortunately, his dealings with you, personally, from WDEL led to some big fabrication, so now everything he's saying about this subject doesn't look trustworthy," she said.

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WDEL obtained the city's travel policy and determined it wasn't illegal for Brown to fly first class under doctor's orders. But Walsh says she wouldn't have done it that way.

"I would have paid for my ticket and put it on a credit card if it was too much money," she said.

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She calls Brown's decision to accept city money to vote to slash funding for another department a "silly choice," politically.

"When we're taking about finances, he can't be moving the discussion off to another one," she said.

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On Facebook, Walsh says she's not responsible for Brown's behavior, but that she is responsible for trying to correct it.

When asked whether Brown should have to refund the money, City Council President Theo Gregory told WDEL "that's not a fair question." He added that Brown's travel was booked in accordance with city policy.

Brown voted in favor of the veto override, but Gregory says he would have brought back and ensured the city paid for travel for any council member who would have been what he called "an obvious 'no' vote" as well.

Brown, who's back on vacation, didn't return WDEL's calls for comment.

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