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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council met for the first time today since a WWAY investigation uncovered big questions about the way a marketing group set up to bring people to downtown Wilmington spent public dollars.

The problem is Bring It! Downtown gets its funding from the city, and public money cannot be spent like that. The group had to get its money back and get a sponsor to pay for the party instead, and then paid the sponsor for advertising Bring It! Downtown was going to get for free.

Mayor Bill Saffo says this is why the city has a third party, Wilmington Downtown Inc., to oversee the project.

“When it was brought to the attention of the folks of Bring it! Downtown, they understood what the problem was, and they felt like a significant mistake had been made, and they were willing to correct that,” Saffo said. “I don’t think it was done maliciously, they just weren’t use to this type of a process.”

Saffo says he is pleased with the way the marketing money was used to continue to promote downtown.

As a result of our investigation, Saffo says city council will make sure that safeguards are in place so there won’t be any confusion on how future money will be spent.

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