Wilmington man waits for council to give green light on lawsuit settlement money
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Council voted 6-1 last week to approve spending $2.1 million from the city’s general fund to settle a lawsuit brought by Funk Yard, LLC, a company managed by Peter Koke.
The vote to waive the second reading for the ordinance did not pass unanimously, with Councilman Kevin Spears being the only one to vote against it, meaning the issue will come before the council again at its next meeting on March 7.
In addition to the money, the city has agreed to take ownership of a few of Koke’s properties on South Front Street in their current condition. This means once everything is signed, Koke will have to stop doing business there.
Koke, who first filed the complaint in August 2021, is frustrated with how long the process is taking.
“It stops me from moving anything out of here, and the other address, it stops me from moving into something,” Koke said.
A city spokesperson shared the following statement with WECT about where the settlement process stands:
“A second reading is common when voting on ordinances and will not cause delay in the process. By approving this action, the city seeks to resolve multiple code enforcement and zoning violations while conveying two properties to the city and avoiding protracted litigation.”
According to the city, multiple fines and code violations have been issued to Koke’s properties over the years. The hope is that settling this lawsuit will help to put those issues to bed.
Another aspect of the settlement agreement is the pending criminal charges against Koke. According to emails between the city’s legal team and Koke’s attorney, the city has asked the District Attorney’s office to drop any charges if all parts of the settlement agreement are eventually signed.
Koke says the charges against him are felony charges related to dumping and demolition.
“It’s been a dramatic effect on me, you know, and my ability to do business and, you know, several layers of stuff,” Koke said. “So, people just see oh, $2.1 [million], it seems like a large amount of money, but at the end of the day it doesn’t nearly scratch the surface of what they’ve ultimately cost me.”
City council’s next meeting is scheduled for March 7 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
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