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Baseball petition is incomplete, according to city charter

Published: Jul. 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The petition against the use of taxpayer money to pay for a minor league baseball stadium in Wilmington is incomplete, according to the city charter.

The group behind the effort did not include an affidavit with the thousands of signatures submitted to the city clerk. Co-organizer Josh Fulton said he's not worried about the situation. He plans to turn in the written sworn statement with the understanding that the city will accept it more than a month after submitting the original list of names.

"I think it would be career suicide if they say these things are all invalid because we don't have this one thing," said Josh Fulton.

When the first round of signatures fell short in the verification process, the group resubmitted enough names to meet the minimum. When the affidavit needs to be turned in is up to interpretation. Wilmington City Attorney Bill Wolak could not legally provide his interpretation of the city charter.

"The answer is in the charter," said Bill Wolak.

Section 5.2 of the charter references form and contents of referendum petitions. A portion reads:

"It shall also be accompanied by the affidavit of one or more legal voters of the city, stating that the signers thereof were, at the time of the signing, legal voters of the city, and stating the number of signers at the time the affidavit was made."

Again, Fulton said there's nothing to worry about. He said the New Hanover County Board of Elections already verified the petition's signatures, so there's no disputing the people's initiative.

"For the city to do something like this it would throw a major monkey wrench into the works," said Fulton.

Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.