Foxtail Fest Fallout

Politicians in Wilmington, Del., are under fire after providing police and other resources for a for-profit rap festival promoted by a relative of the mayor and chief strategy adviser.

Some 20 police were provided to the Foxtail Fest Sept. 14 at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, as well as cleanup and other emergency personnel.

The hip-hop festival, featuring Machine Gun Kelly, Travi$ Scott, and Kat Dahlia and about 20 other acts, was organized by What Scene?, a company founded in part by Brandon Potter.

And Potter appears to be pretty well-connected. He’s is the son of now-former mayoral adviser Velda Jones-Potter and state Rep. Charles Potter, who is also the cousin of Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams.

The mayor announced Jones-Potter “is no longer with the Williams Administration,” Sept. 19, two days after the local News Journal reported on the city resources committed to her son’s festival.

The decision to provide city resources to the concert drew immediate criticism, particularly from councilman Michael Brown, who chairs the city’s public safety committee.

He blasted the decision to send 20 officers to the Foxtail Fest during a weekend in which five shootings left six hospitalized and one dead in the city.

“Since you’re paying overtime, put them in the streets, put them in the so-called high-crime areas,” Brown said, according to the paper. “Why didn’t you do that? That’s what I’m angry about.”

Williams defended the use of city resources at the festival, saying other events also received them. But other event organizers told the paper that, unlike Brandon Potter’s company, they had to pay for their police presence.

Within a week, Jones-Potter was gone and Williams appeared to be trying to extricate himself from the controversy.

“At no time did Mayor Williams give a direct order for one group to receive preferential treatment over another,” mayoral spokeswoman Alexandra Coppadge reportedly said. “While Mayor Williams supports events that bring vibrancy, attract newcomers to the City of Wilmington and generate economic growth, like every citizen he believes the process should be fair and the onus for producing those events should rely on the event coordinator.”

A joint finance, public works and public safety committee meeting was called Sept. 30 to look into the resources devoted to the Foxtail Fest, citing the permitting process that requires private, for-profit companies to pay for those services, according to the News Journal.