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Funds for Wilmington stock exchange face resistance from New Castle Co. Council

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

Five members of New Castle County Council are balking at County Executive Tom Gordon’s plan to help fund a Wilmington stock exchange.

The Gordon administration said this week it moved $3 million from a county-controlled trust that funds county parks to invest in the start-up Delaware Board of Trade through a loan.  That after County Council passed a resolution last week opposing the plan.

In a press release announcing he was moving forward with the transfer, Gordon argued he has the legal right to transfer the funds without Council’s consent, but added he’d talked to members of Council and a majority was now on board.

Today, New Castle County Council president Chris Bullock and Council members John Cartier, Lisa Diller, Penrose Hollins and Janet Kilpatrick took issue with that - with Hollins offering a strong rebuke.

"The press statement that was released by the executive branch of government is a document that was fraudulent – or at best it was a lot of misinformation designed only to mislead the public," said Hollins.

The group also questioned Gordon’s authority to move the money, with Bullock adding that even if he has that power Gordon needs to be more transparent with Council about what he’s doing.

"We need questions answered.  We need full disclosure. We need the executive branch to play by the rules," said Bullock. "We have a legislative process.  We have a legislative protocol, legislative practices.  These things are not happening."

Bullock says if the Gordon administration does not work with Council,  it would strongly consider legal action to block the movement of the funds.

In arguing for use of the funds, Gordon’s office says interest from the loan will continue to fund the parks and that the trading software the Delaware Board of Trade is putting up as collateral is worth more than the $3 million loan amount. 

Earlier this year, County Council OK’d a 15 million dollar revenue bond to help develop the stock exchange. Bullock says lawmakers continue to support the project and are willing to discuss further efforts to assist it in an open, collaborative atmosphere.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.