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Councilwoman files for bankruptcy

READ MORE: Councilwoman files for bankruptcy
WILMINGTON -- The financial problems continue to grow for Pat Delair. The Wilmington councilwoman has now filed for bankruptcy. This is not the first time Delair has had financial difficulties. And with the election just over a week away the big question now is: will this have an impact on voters? The building at 511 N. Third Street, where Councilwoman Pat Delair lives went into foreclosure earlier this month. At that point she owed more than $40,000 on the property. To avoid an auction scheduled for Friday morning Delair voluntarily filed for bankruptcy. Her latest financial problems have raised questions about her ability to effectively sit on Wilmington's City Council. Fellow Councilman Jason Thompson says he received numerous calls about the issue. Thompson said, "There's a member on my committee that is evidently having trouble taking care of her own finances and they're not very confident in her ability to take care of the city's finances." Delair says the matter stems from a bad business decision in 2001 that she has been working to correct. She says the only way to stop creditors from forcing an auction on her property was to file for bankruptcy. Delair reiterated her public comments Friday, saying this will not affect her ability to be an effective council member. Delair said, "I'm working with other vendors at this time, paying them off, and I just did not feel compelled to be extorted and I just said do what you have to do, but my obligations are the people I've made commitments to." When we asked voters whether a candidate's financial situation influences their voting decisions, the opinions were mixed. Voter Stephanie King said, "I don't think it should be made public. I believe a candidate's personal life is their personal life, and I think they deserve that." Voter Billy Cash said, "I wouldn't want to vote for someone who's having financial difficulties, because if they can't manage their own money, how are they going to manage our money, the taxpayers' money?" This is not the first time Delair has had financial problems right before election time. In July of 2006 she owed more than $2,500 in property taxes to the county. That matter was eventually resolved and seemed to have little impact with voters. Fellow council members Jim Quinn and Laura Padgett said they both wished Delair well and said they hope she resolves the matter soon.

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when the going gets tough,

when the going gets tough, the tough files bankruptcy? get her out of office.

She states.....

...."Delair said, "I'm working with other vendors at this time, paying them off, and I just did not feel compelled to be extorted and I just said do what you have to do, but my obligations are the people I've made commitments to." extorted? by whom , she used her credit to keep a failing business from closing. Yeah, thats what I'm going to look for in an elected official.

pat delair

to everyone who wrote about their dislike for this situation i can only say if you dont like it, vote for a change. vote for kevin delahunty for example. he is a newcomer and we need fresh ideas and new people that are not on the so called take. i know he and his wife personally and can tell you he is an honest person, and would bring a welcome change to the city council. he is a member of my sunday school class and church and would not do anything underhanded.

Leave her alone

I think we should leave this lady alone. Her personal life and finances should be her own private business. Most of you whom are judging her should take a long, hard look at your own situation.

In all fairness

Why not make the rest of the council's personal finances public. You think Quinn, Thompson, Safo and Padgett reap some of the financial benefits of their decisions and inside information? I do. It guess it's easier to report the finacial troubles of a candidate than it is to investigate corruption of others. The haves versus the have-nots.

Saffo has to go

Somebody Stop Saffo! In case you haven't been reading the paper or watching the local news, somebody needs to stop Bill Saffo. Saffo's kind of politics are bad for Wilmington. His real estate ties are too intertwined with the major problems facing the city. The problems we face today; infrastructure, the environment, the city employee pay raises, and the convention center are all issues directly related to this latest real estate boom which by all accounts has gone bust. Do we want a mayor who is a devout real estate man? Look at the facts first. Our city has some major problems, our roads are congested and dangerous, the sewers are leaking, city employees can't afford to live in the city and some people want to spend big money on a convention center. These are the same people that caused all the problems to begin with, they are the quote unquote "development community." The development of Wilmington is important but it seems we haven't been doing it responsibly and it has caused some major problems. Bill Saffo's website (http://billsaffo.com) lists his occupation as "Owner/Broker-In-Charge" with local real estate company Hanover Realty, Inc.; one of the areas largest local real estate companies. The booming business of selling Wilmington to the highest bidder has afforded Saffo with a wonderful life. He has a beautiful wife, a big SUV, and a large home in a private gated club house community, the sprawling golf course suburbia better known as Landfall. Chris Mazzolini with the Star News has done a series of great articles on the race for mayor they are available online. Mazzolini reported that Bill Saffo's "biggest campaign contributors were from the real estate and development communities." They contributed almost 80 thousand dollars. By comparison, the other two candidates have roughly a whopping three thousand dollars a piece, largely of their own money. Mazzolini also reported that Saffo faced criticism about being in the "developers' pockets and that his 158 thousand dollar election fund has bought favors for a select few." Saffo's buddies in this are none other than the people who turned a cow pasture into millions; the developers of Mayfaire who were some of his notable contributors. Mazzolini reported, "Hyman Brody, of the Brody-Zimmer Development Co., which developed Mayfaire Town Center contributed $2,000 to Saffo's campaign. Saffo also received $6,000 from the Zimmer family." Mayfaire is a perfect example of developmental problems. Sewers are leaking because of rapid growth in the northeast corridor, the Military Cutoff and Ogden areas. Mazzolini and McGrath reported that "the [northeast] interceptor, has leaked more than 4.7 million gallons of sewage into Hewletts Creek in the past two years, carries wastewater from Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington and parts of eastern New Hanover County to the city's Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant…much of the flow from the fast-growing Ogden, Porters Neck and Military Cutoff areas." The road itself on Military Cutoff, has been under construction for almost four years causing traffic nightmares as reported by Stephanie Beecken for WWAY. "Construction on Military Cutoff has been going on since 2004 and some businesses along that stretch of road say the construction is causing more problems. Is there an end in sight?" And why all the problems? Because the huge development of Mayfaire, with its restaurants, shops, grocery stores, apartments, 300thousand dollar and up condos, movie theater, and Charleston inspired luxury homes in sidewalk lined neighborhoods, was built on a cow farm on a two lane road where UNCW students once went to tip cows. And all of it was built with out making prior adjustments to the infrastructure to accommodate all these people. These developers are Saffo's contributors and he talks of fixing the infrastructure problems, when large development projects on every available piece of land is the reason the infrastructure is failing. Saffo's company lists several new development communities. Just a couple of the "Listed New Developments" Avalon West and Belle Meade Plantation are both built by Kirk Pigford Construction. Houses in Avalon from $399,000 to $599,000 and lots in Belle Meade $130,000 and higher. How can we expect him to do something about the problem if he appears to be adding to the problem? And when the police and firemen complained because they needed raises Saffo decided spending $200,000 on an outside consultant would be the best way to decide what to pay them. The reason why they needed a raise is, like many of us, they can't afford Wilmington anymore. Real estate prices are out of a city employee's price range. For example, on the low end of the housing market, Hanover Reality offers one small, older, one-bed/one-bath apartment next to UNCW campus for $65,000 or several two-bed/one-bath shot gun style houses in the downtown area for $120,000 to $125,000. Now these might be high crime areas but real estates agents don't talk about such things. For the same price, Hanover Reality offers a selection of slightly used trailers in the Monkey Junction area, or outlying counties. On the other hand, Hanover lists over 400 houses in the million dollar plus price range. They offer a six-bed/six-bath home in Saffo's neighborhood for $7.45 million dollars. What city employee can afford that? Saffo also says he wants to help the environment by adding "green space" to Wilmington. His website states "Today, I am happy to report that we are, in fact, in a position to purchase, plan and develop more public and open areas in our community than ever before. To date we: Purchased 60 acres for a softball/multi use field. Began engineering work on a 9 ½ mile multi use path from Halyburton Park to Wrightsville Beach. Started improvements to Greenfield Park Amphitheatre. Purchased land for a downtown park overlooking the Cape Fear River. Began creating a 22 acre park behind Alderman School." His idea of green space is rapped up in the development of parks and paths which are to be engineered and planned. He doesn't set forth a plan to preserve current natural areas, only gives a plan to develop some beautiful sod and concrete green space. Saffo is the only candidate for mayor still in favor of a proposed downtown convention center. The other two candidates Justin LaNasa and Harper Peterson are both longtime downtown business owners and Peterson has already served as mayor. Like many downtown business owners they have changed their minds about the convention center. Peterson said to local media, Through investigation I discovered that convention centers are dated, they don't make money, the attendance is down nationally and they bleed communities out of local tax dollars." Reported by Joe Kiley for WECT. A petition being circulated on the internet asking for a vote on the matter says "all research shows that publicly funded convention centers lose money and take ongoing public subsidy to operate and that the amount of such subsidy and the source of revenue cannot be firmly established at this time." Who actually would benefit from the convention center? Realtors, builders, and developers. Mayor Saffo's biggest contributors. In conclusion, Saffo is a real estate man with real estate money supported by the development community, which he in turn supports. His real estate company profits from a market that has quadrupled home prices in many parts of the Wilmington area, making it impossible for many to purchase homes. He is the only candidate still for the development of a convention center, and his plan to help the environment is tied to the development community. Bottom line is, the irresponsible development boom over the past decade is the cause of the city's biggest problems. Do we really want to continue in that direction? No, somebody has to stop Saffo.

Old News

Everyone knows Pat's had financial problems. They brought this up every time she's run for Council. Seems like Jason thompson, the most corrupt councilman, is trying to get his honeypot kristy tomey into office too. Delair is a threat because she wants to discuss things in public. Thompson, saffo, quinn want to line their pockets doing business behind closed doors. Tomey is part of this den of thieves. If Thompson wants to throw stones, lets see what he's hiding. What's his relationship with Tomey that he feels so compelled to take cheap shots to help her? Pat could have solved her problem by pulling "a Thompson" and joining the corrupt crowd. Thank goodness she hasn't.

Gee, what a choice!

Sleazy crooks or the financially incompetent. Is that the best we can hope for?

Not Sure

Is it really anyones business that she is filing for bankruptcy? Why does this have to be public knowledge?

Are you serious?

Because she is running for public office and we expect them to be held to a higher standard especially when we intrust them to handle our tax dollars.

Standards

Do you mean like Thomas Wright , who is still getting a paycheck from the taxpayers?

it is our business

unfortunately, this is our business. when pat delair made the choice to run for city council and public office she took the risk of having her private life publicly exposed by the media, as all politicians do at any level of government. this is unfortunate for pat delair, but it is happening to her. and what is also unfortunate for her, is that many people may not choose to vote for someone that is filing bankruptcy to handle the taxpayers money. this, is probably fortunate for the tax payers.

I agree

I agree about it being her personal life and not news. Focus on her record and the job she's done.

Why is it anyones business?

Why is it anyones business? First of all Ms. Delair waited until her her property was already scheduled for auction to file bankrupcy. Anytime a property is in foreclosure, it is public knowledge. Second of all, she is an elected official. Don't want your personal business to become public? Then don't run for public office....its as simple as that.

What about the rest of them?

What about the rest of them? Do none of you care about the financial dealings of the other council members? At least with Pat, you know what you're dealing with. The rest of them count on the public not paying attention.

Finances

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of their finances could not be legally explained.

Ms Delair

I'm sorry that all you readers do not understand that bankruptcy is a very difficult decision to make. Think most of us are all in the same boat, just a paycheck away from having that decision made for us. If this Representative is going through this at this diffult time we should not down her for it; we should support her just like anyone of us would support a friend or a relative making that kind of decision, that's why they have these laws out there for us to repay back and start over again. From what I have read and believe whole hardily is that she performs an very well and capible of doing her job. SHOULD ANYONE ELSE THAT FALLS INTO THIS CATEGORY HAVE TO LOOSE THEIR JOB AS WELL, THINK?????

virture

To me this, shows Miss Delair's not on the Take like other's . We can all can guess who they are????????????

Delair desparate

If you never been bankrupt before try having all your assets frozen and every dime you have, get, may recieve turned over to the courts. everything looked at thru a microscope. This woman will be dying for some under the table relief. She will be the next Jason if given the chance.

Ms. Delair

I have been bankrupt before and yes it is painful and humiliating. I can not imagine having to go through it in public! I would think that if Ms Delair was going to give in and take "some under the table relief" she would have done it BEFORE and avoided these circumstances altogether. I find it very interesting that even though Ms Delair's financial situation has been public knowledge for quite some time the hammer happens to fall just before the election. Do you think there are ANY people in town that could help arrange such timing. Think about it!