Petition circulated calling for IDA

Executive Director’s resignation.

By Sylvia Allen

Editor

LAWRENCEVILLE – A post that Michael Dotti, Executive Director, Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, has people up in arms and calling for his resignation. The post was placed on his private Facebook page but shared. The post was a threat to President-Elect Joe Biden. A petition is being circulated calling for his resignation.

At the beginning of the IDA meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, Dotti read the following statement: “I am aware that comments I made last week on my private Facebook page have offended some members of the community. I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended. My intent is to be sarcastic and edgy but certainly not to offend anyone. In retrospect based on the reaction of the community, including my close friends, there was offense taken. I see now that the post was not a good choice. I regret hurting anyone.

“The comment was posted on my private page I did not think for a second that it would be taken so offensively. If I had anticipated the possible offense, I certainly would not have posted it.

“Again I sincerely apologize to the community and to the IDA Board for offending anyone and for distracting from the good work we are doing at the IDA. I thank the public for their comments and to all the people who took the time to participate in their community. We can only grow and build together mindful of each other’s concerns and needs.”

Chair Gloria Wesson Menyweather-Woods said the IDA welcomes comments from citizens but would not respond to comments. No action was taken.

Monica McMillan stated: “I am requesting for the IDA Board to terminate Mike Dotti from his position as Business Liaison Director.  Mr. Dotti has displayed several alarming posts on his social media that we as citizens of Brunswick County do not want to represent our community.  Mr. Dotti’s lack of empathy towards mental health foremost is a major concern with the rise of mental health challenges amongst our nation.  I have over 135 signatures thus far who are in support to have Mr. Dotti removed.  The citizens on the petition along with myself do not think Mr. Dotti can serve our community filled with a melting pot of people with the type of biased thinking he possesses.”

Rita Goodrich said Dotti must be able to represent all the citizens of Brunswick County. She said she found his comments hurtful and offensive. Goodrich questioned if Dotti has the best interest of the citizens in Brunswick County at heart. She said Dotti’s affiliation with Pop’s Grill makes her question whether or not she should support the new business. Goodrich said she recently opened a new business in McKenney, Virginia because she felt more welcomed.

Karen McMillan Green said she was very upset by the Facebook post and comments about President-Elect Biden. She said people should be judged on their character and not by the color of their skin.

”I think I am a good judge of character. I don’t see color or race. We want the county to prosper and grow. Does this kind of behavior show character? Elected officials should represent all people, not just white people. We all live here and pay taxes. My parents taught me not to look at skin color but character and how they treat you,” Green said.

Patricia Gee Bright spoke in Dotti’s favor. She said she knew Dotti was a Trump supporter but called attention to the fact that Dotti used his resources and donated $1,000 to the CRC (Community Revitalization Coalition). She said the Executive Director should resources to help the community. Bright again thanked Dotti for his support.

McMillan said the Facebook post stated that Biden should kill himself. She said it is a matter of character and moral values. She acknowledged Dotti’s support for the CRC but she is not happy with his actions and further stated that the IDA should not tolerate this kind of behavior.

Rebecca Spengler, Vice Mayor, Town of Alberta, said Dotti and the IDA had been very supportive of the Town of Alberta. She said the IDA reached out to Alberta and treated the town fairly. Spengler said the IDA was fair and unbiased.

Menyweather-Woods thanked the citizens for their comments and said the IDA Board would take the comments under advisement.

Regarding another subject, McMillan questioned a grant the IDA received for Echo World, located in the former Bank of America building. She also asked for more information on how grants to businesses are allocated.

“I also requested the board to explain when should the county expect the $120,000 back they had given to the telecommunication company that was located at the old Bank of America building.  This is the second business that the IDA Director has given out large sums of money and the businesses have left.  The business grand openings were prior to the pandemic.  I also would like the IDA to share the grant resources to the public that Mr. Dotti used to open the Long and Foster building in which he placed in his spouse name. This grant information will be a good resource in order to help bring other small businesses to our county especially downtown Lawrenceville.  The IDA page also should advertise other businesses we have in our community to show we appreciate them just as much as any other new business we have in our county,” McMillan stated.