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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A petition against a taxpayer-funded ballpark in Wilmington has hit another bump in the road. City officials have asked the New Hanover County Board of Elections to further analyze more than 160 names on the petition.

Elections Director Marvin McFadyden says the city has called 165 names from the petition into question. McFadyen says 104 of the names on the petition have questionable signatures and 61 of them have incorrect dates of birth.

Petition organizer Joshua Fulton was surprised to learn about the newest hurdle.

“Frustrated for sure,” Fulton said. “We had been told that it was the Board of Elections’ soul duty to verify the signatures, and now it seems like the city is kind of trying to take a backdoor route to verifying them themselves.”

Fulton says he would be shocked if the city prohibited him from submitting more signatures or a revised petition. He does believe it is reasonable for some signatures to get rejected, but he says it is not his job to verify them.

“It’s really (the Board of Elections’) job to affirm the identity of these people, that they’re really citizens,” he said. “It’d be impossible for us to do that.”

Fulton still has hopes of getting his citizen-initiated ordinance on the November ballot, but he says he feels like the Board of Elections is trying to get them to jump through hoops to do it.

The city attorney says petitioners can still submit more names until the Board of Elections closes the process. No word on when that could happen.

The Board of Elections hopes to have a decision on the questioned signatures by Monday. That’s one day before City Council meets again. Council is slated to talk about a bond referendum in November for up to $42 million to pay for the ballpark.

Comment on this Story

  • my guess is that the city has decided that we WILL build a stadium …no matter what the petition/people say !!! i will be signing this petition monday . you clowns that support this fiasco should be ashamed of yourselves . WE CAN`T AFFORD IT !!! i hope you don`t run your personal finances like this. there is`nt one sport in this town that gets the attendance they are predicting this will. they are telling us these lies to sell it to us.just like a car salesman ! all of you supporters are falling for it hook line and sinker!!!

  • Rick Wilson

    Building a baseball stadium for Mandalay and the Atlanta Braves is nothing more than subsidized housing for the rich. The tax payers will spend millions of dollars to build this stadium, spend millions of more dollars on the driveway (road projects necessary to support the stadium), and the tenants get to live there during the prime time of the year. The rent they will pay will only cover a small portion of the interest on the stadium loan. The tax payers get stuck with the rest. If the tax payers are crazy enough to vote for the bond(s) to do this project, they will pay the bill. There is no guarantee the city will even apply the rent payments toward paying down the loan(s). The windfall sales tax revenue this project is supposed to produce will not all go to the city, even if the amount is true. Once again the city has not guaranteed these funds will go toward paying the loan(s). The other revenue producing events will have to take place in the off season (late fall, winter, early spring). Even though we have had some mild winters around here, we have also had some bad ones. Weather will dictate what events can be held in an open air stadium. The concerts the proponents of this stadium claim will produce revenue need to be considered closely. After you pay for the band(s), printing of the tickets, selling of the tickets, advertising, people necessary to work the event, and the clean up after the event, there is not much money left as profit. Restaurants, hotels, and retailers may or may not make extra money because of this event, but once again there appears to be no guarantees any profits will be applied to the original debt of building this stadium. There are only TWO guarantees with this project. First is that Mandalay and the Atlanta Braves will get a sweetheart of a deal. Second is the tax payers in Wilmington are going to be responsible for millions of dollars in loans. Everything else is nothing more than speculation and conjecture. Do you really think if the other events that can be held at the stadium generated massive amounts of profit that Mandalay and the Braves just wouldn’t build the stadium themselves and keep these profits also? This project is the many paying millions of dollars so a few can profit.

  • Shaun O’Rourke

    I always knew the petition would be challenged and in some back door move thrown out. This just goes to show you how Bill Saffo will stop at nothing to make the the taxes go up on property owners for what he think will be his legacy in Wilmington. I guess the Convention Center BUST wasn’t enough for a legacy. Shame on you Bill Saffo and all the rest of the city counsel that thinks this is a good idea when Braves/Mandalay are sitting on $900,000,000.00 dollars!!! Your a disgrace to your party and the city tax payers. Bill Saffo is a rapist. Raping the tax payers for his pet projects.

  • Guest1234

    Who cares about this flawed petition? If they don’t make sure signatures are really valid, what’s to stop the crazies from bringing more bogus petitions in the future on whatever they want and claiming they have citizen signatures? City Council already said they are putting a bond referendum on the ballot, so people will get their say one way or another. But that would be too rational for the conspiracy theorists.

  • Guest910

    Why can’t the city just kill this stupid stadium idea? Most citizens of Wilmington don’t want it, it’s a bad idea, and it doesn’t add anything we don’t already have. Concerts? We already have those. Fireworks? Seems like we have those all the time. Baseball? We’ve already got that and if you want to see something a little “higher level”, just take a little drive down to Myrtle Beach, where you’ll have YOUR CHOICE of seats, since NOBODY GOES TO THE GAMES!

    Give it up, stupid politicians, we don’t want our money spent on this and if you drag it out until November, it’s going to get stomped on.

  • Guest1313

    Stop your complaining. The group behind the petition found an old and outdated way to try and stop the ballpark and the city council has the right to question the signatures. It’s the process that McCoy & Fulton have been crying about ever since they didn’t get elected into office and now it’s the City’s turn to follow the process. Like it or not, the process is there for a reason and every step should be followed.

  • Jackie

    I missed the petition but would be glad to sign if needed.

  • WriteRight

    I haven’t signed any petition yet but would love to sign one now. So where can I add to the list of sane people who are struggling to provide for their families while others are trying to steal from them? As it has been said so many times before, why the need for so MUCH taxpayers dollars if it is such an awesome “boon” for the city? I’ve got to go. Just watered the lawn and I need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it!

  • gerry curtin

    the city should check there voters the same way in nov to see how voters

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