The next round of fallout from the Foxtail concert is detailed in Sunday’s NJ, where we learn that Parks and Rec Deputy Director Shawn Allen let Foxtail’s organizers use Allen’s non-profit to get a temporary liquor license. The problem, though:
Allen allowed Potter to use his nonprofit to help the concert despite a provision in the city’s code of conduct, which states that “no city employee, officer or honorary city official may represent or otherwise assist any private enterprise with respect to any matter before the city.” Under state law, only not-for-profit entities can receive what are officially known as gathering licenses to sell alcohol on particular days.
Charles Potter, the mayor’s cousin, previously had not been linked directly to the festival that has ignited such controversy in Williams’ first year in office. Allen said he went to the legislator’s insurance agency, where Charles Potter provided him a copy of the gathering license application and later took it for processing.
After receiving a copy of the license, Allen said he forwarded it to Charles Potter.
Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner John Cordrey said such arrangements with non-profits are not unusual. For example, a wedding party could ask a non-profit to secure a gathering license to serve alcohol if a for-profit reception site did not have a liquor license, he said.
If you are a for-profit, though, you aren’t supposed to keep the profits from the alcohol sales if you have a non-profit standing for your gathering licence. The non-profit should be getting the profits, and Allen’s group did not. Allen says he had no idea that this was supposed to be the arrangement — although how you can not get the rules clear for a gathering licence (basically a one day liquor licence) that is being issued in your group’s name makes no sense to me. Most non-profits have insurance or even corporate structures that mean that you need to be very clear about your role, responsibilities and liabilities for liquor licences should be. And if Mr. Allen did not know, then it is especially despicable for Charles Potter to just use Mr. Allen like this — Allen has been a longstanding supporter of Potter and Williams and hanging Allen out to dry like this is not the act of friendship or loyalty supporters have a right to expect.
But the ethics problem again:
Allen allowed Potter to use his nonprofit to help the concert despite a provision in the city’s code of conduct, which states that “no city employee, officer or honorary city official may represent or otherwise assist any private enterprise with respect to any matter before the city.”
So what does it take for the City to enforce its Ethics Policy? Seriously, there’s little point to having one if you won’t insist that your employees (friends or no) live by it. Because you won’t be improving the trust relationship with Wilmington citizens if we continue to see the tatters of that policy, rather than a fierce defense of the City’s reputation and brand.