NCCo Exec. Gordon denies reports of misconduct based on taped conversations
New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon denies reports suggesting he sought to cover up alleged misconduct by a state Senator’s husband employed by the county.
Gordon – in a statement released by his office Wednesday – says "no violation of any law or regulation" took place and blames David Grimaldi, the Chief Administrative Officer he fired last fall, of distorting the facts of the situation.
The comments are in response to tapes of Gordon released to Wilmington radio station WDEL and the News Journal on which those outlets report the county executive says he’d fire Dana Long over misconduct if he were not the husband of State Senator Bethany Hall-Long – citing Hall-Long’s influence over county financial issues before the General Assembly. Hall-Long is currently running for Lt. Governor.
On the tape, Grimaldi, then County Administrative Officer, tells Gordon that Dana Long , a county housing inspector, allegedly confessed to supervisors he accessed data about Section 8 housing voucher recipients and used it to call the voucher holders for political purposes during 2014. Hall-Long was up for reelection in 2014 and Long was arrested for stealing Republican party yard signs during that campaign against John Marino.
Long has called the allegations made on the tape categorically false. Gordon – in his statement - says the initial information Long confessed was inaccurate and an internal investigation found no data was taken and a voucher recipient complaint made was about violations cited – and not a campaign call.
"An internal investigation by the Department of Community Services revealed upon interviewing the employee that he did not download any files or make any phone calls to the client. There was no evidence that any files were downloaded. County officials tried to get the client to come in to meet about this incident, but were not successful. Based on these facts and confidential information, the incident was closed as unsubstantiated," said Gordon's statement.
As for his own comments - Gordon suggests his initial reaction heard on tape was inappropriate, but says he is later heard saying the matter should be looked at legally.
"Sometimes our initial reactions to situations are inappropriate but usually change as you more calmly reflect on the issue. You have been made privy to the former and not the latter, which did happen, but was not released," read Gordon's statement.
Gordon adds he misplaced his trust in hiring Grimaldi, then accuses his former second in command of secretly recording confidential conversations for two years and now releasing parts of them to harm him.
"I dismissed my Chief Administrative Officer Dave Grimaldi because I lost faith in him. That was a very tough decision. I initially viewed Dave as a talented young man whom I valued as a trusted employee. I am sorry for any harm that has come to the county because of my misplaced trust," said Gordon in his statement. "I will continue to work hard for the citizens, but I will not allow anyone or any source to distort the truth to darken my administration."
Grimaldi is currently suing the county for wrongful termination. He was fired last October.