Lease deal more than just a mistake


When dealing with with the citizens of Wilmington’s public property, the laws apply. The law does not allow a mayor or any other single individual to sell, buy or rent such property without the consent of those citizens through their elected representatives on city council.

In the case of the Runway Logistics/Sewell lease of a former Randal building on Nelson Avenue, the contracting was done behind the backs of council. The city’s law director was not given a signed copy to review. At least some some, if not all, council members had no idea that a deal had been made until they were made aware by a private citizen. We have learned from the Total Baking Solution (TBS) fiasco that not all rental agreements have merit.

Miscalculating the revenue from a lease would be a mistake; keeping the lease secret from council, the people and the press is a violation.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Mr. Dixon, an employee of the county and a commercial property owner attempted, at the behest of the mayor, to defend the the illegal action. He compared the deal to a private transaction between himself and a lessee of his property that wanted the agreement to remain silent. There is no comparison, as anyone can see. One wonders if Dixon would approve of a third party renting one of his properties without his knowledge.

The value of the rental agreement is not at issue; the method of achieving the agreement is the issue — a serious issue.

Paul Hunter

Wilmington