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A Wilmington City Councilmember faces alleged ethics violations

Wilmington City Council Member Zanthia Oliver faces new allegations of violating the city’s Code of Conduct.

Oliver faces two Code of Conduct violations connected to events that took place in 2022 - both involve her role in planning the community events, and their funding.

The first stems from her involvement in planning part of the City of Wilmington’s Community Day celebration in July 2022, an event called “Love Is In The Air.”

The city’s Office of Cultural Affairs requested financial coverage for $610 in event fees. Oliver agreed to pay the amount out of her City Council discretionary funds. She is being charged with violating two sections of City Code for depositing the check into her personal bank account.

While she returned the money, the complaint says her actions indicate she used her office or position for personal monetary gain.

The second allegation is connected to planning an August 2022 event called “A Salute to Women Veterans.” In this instance, Oliver is accused of violating City Code for failing to disclose her membership on the Board of the Eastside Civic Association, an event sponsor, on financial disclosure forms she submitted in April 2021 and 2022.

That was uncovered when she deposited the check made out to ESCA for the venue deposit directly into the organization’s bank account.

In the formal statement of alleged violation, Oliver claimed she was able to deposit the check because she had been a member of ESCA’s board “on and off” for years.

She resigned from ESCA’s board following this occurrence.

Council President Trippi Congo says the alleged violations are concerning.

“We want to make sure that the public’s trust in us first and foremost, and that we're doing everything that we can as a council to be transparent and to be open and honest with them. And if there are any violations that we aren’t taking them lightly,” he explained.

The formal complaint was submitted to the Wilmington Ethics Commission on September 13th.

“Right now we're waiting for the Ethics Commission to give us the official judgment and their official guidelines on what they think should happen next after they're finished with their investigation,” said Congo.

Congo says he doesn’t expect the investigation to take much longer, and promised that council will act swiftly once it concludes.

Efforts to schedule an interview with Oliver about the complaint have been unsuccessful.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021