Is there a conflict of interest between a Wilmington councilman and The Avenue's developer?

Is there a conflict of interest between a Wilmington councilman and The Avenue's developer?
This is a screengrab of the website listing Maus, Warwick, Matthews and Company on The Avenue's website. (Source: WECT)
This is a screengrab of the website listing Maus, Warwick, Matthews and Company on The Avenue's website. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - We were approached by several concerned citizens who wanted to know why the company Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark works for was listed as a contact for retailers interested in setting up shop at The Avenue.

Rivenbark was among the five council members who voted in favor of Carroll Companies' proposed massive development Tuesday night. According to the developer's CEO, an agreement with Rivenbark's company was severed on Sept. 5, 2017.

But Rivenbark's employer, Maus, Warwick, Matthews and Company, was still listed as The Avenue's real estate agent on the developer's website as late as Wednesday morning.

"It's no conspiracy theory," Roy Carroll II, CEO of Carroll Companies, said. "The website is a year and a half old and it needs to be updated."

Carroll added his company dropped Rivenbark's employer after deciding plans for the development needed to be changed, thus eliminating the need for a real estate agent.

"We have no business talking to any tenants if we don't know what plans we would have at the end of the day," Carroll said.

When contacted Wednesday morning, Rivenbark said he had no idea the partnership existed between his employer and the developer.

The page listing Rivenbark's employer has since been taken down.

A representative with Maus, Warwick, Matthews and Company released the following statement Wednesday:

We have no contractual relationship with them and none has existed since last August, at which time plans for a prior project were dropped by the developer.  One of our agents was then working on a preleasing assignment for the prior project which involved his sole participation in identifying and contacting national tenants.

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