Former Wilmington City Council President indicted by grand jury
The Delaware Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights & Public Trust announced Monday that a grand jury has indicted former Wilmington City Council President Theopalis K. Gregory on charges of Profiteering and Official Misconduct.
The DOJ alleges that Gregory, 67, used his position on City Council to secure a City grant that would enrich both himself and a non-profit that he founded. In October 2016, Gregory revived Students Disabilities Advocates, Inc. (SDA), a private entity he controlled, which had been dormant for 18 years. Shortly after the 2016 election, Gregory is alleged to have told his successor, City Council President Hanifa Shabazz, that $40,000 in City grant funds were earmarked for SDA, and to have repeatedly pressured Shabazz, while still in office, to grant the request after she was sworn in. Because SDA lacked non-profit status at the time, Gregory is further alleged to have used the Police Athletic League of Wilmington (PAL-W) as a pass-through for the funds.
One day after Mr. Gregory left office, PAL-W submitted a grant application, which was approved and signed by Shabazz in January 2017, requesting $40,000 for SDA as a pilot program. The grant included in its budget a $20,000 payment to Gregory, who has publicly acknowledged receiving at least $15,000 personally. A State Auditor’s report and an independent investigation both found that Gregory’s actions violated a number of provisions of the Wilmington City Code. In April 2019, Gregory admitted to the Wilmington Ethics Commission that his actions violated the Wilmington City Code.
The DOJ reminds the public that an indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.