ONLY ON 3: Who is the ‘Wilmington Ballpark Coalition?’
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Monday morning, the Wilmington media were introduced to the Wilmington Ballpark Coalition – a group of local business leaders formed to support a minor league baseball team and stadium in Wilmington.
The group (listed below) chose Jim Hundley, Jr. as its spokesperson. He’s the CEO of T2 Healthcare, a medical device company based in Willmington.
His father, Jim Hundley, Sr., was also listed as a vice-chairman of the group. He was long-time orthopaedic surgeon in Wilmington, and on the board of Cooperative Bank, which folded in 2009. After exclusively investigating and reporting Tuesday that he and the rest of the board are being sued for millions by the FDIC for “neglect of duty,” Hundley, Sr. resigned from the WBC Tuesday afternoon, citing he didn’t want to be a distraction.
All of this information has been disseminated to the media over the past two days, not by the group itself, but by a public relations firm based in Raleigh called Capstrat. It sent the news release Monday morning announcing the formation of the group. It also sent out a statement Tuesday on behalf of Hundley Jr. and Sr. clarifying the members’s roles as volunteers only as well as the resignation announcement.
Mandalay Baseball Development, the Atlanta Braves and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce comfirmed in March they hired Capstrat to come up with a strategic pro-stadium campaign.
Tuesday, when asked about his father being a member of the group while being sued by the FDIC, Hundley Jr. told a WWAY reporter that he would have to check with the PR firm (i.e. Capstrat) first before he could make any comment.
We also cross-referenced all of the members of the WBC against the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s business directory. All but five of the 22 appear to be active members of the chamber. One, Connie Majure-Rhett, is President of the chamber. Hundley’s company, T-2 Healthcare is not listed in the directory. Neither is Rob Ziglar with East Coast Contracting, Terry Spencer or Matt Henrie. Henrie is, however, a Wilmington Ambassador with TrySports, a sporting goods store in Mayfaire (http://www.trysports.com/page/wilmingtonambassador). Spencer has written at least one pro-stadium letter to the editor to the StarNews (http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120222/LETTERS/120229868).
Chris Fernandez, who’s company isn’t mentioned on the list, is actually the founder of the website portcitybaseball.com, which is pro-stadium and attempting to counter a grassroots protest petition movement which is against raising taxes to build the ballpark (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-tax-dollars-for-baseball-stadium/).
Capstrat also announced late Monday night that representatives from Mandalay and the Atlanta Braves would be holding a news conference Wednesday morning at 10:00 on the lawn of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. Both have been very hush-hush about what the news conference will focus on, but WWAY is hearing that they will present numbers that will show the economic impact the ballpark would have on Wilmington and the surrounding area.
Members of the coalition include:
Jim Hundley, Jr., Chairman
Dr. James Hundley Sr., Vice-Chairman
Margaret Weller-Stargell, Vice-Chairman
Tom Babel – Ward and Smith
Dick Blouse – Global Perspectives, LLC
Dr. William Carmichael – Riverside Dental Arts
Ken Dull – McKinley Building Corporation
Matt Henrie – MedTech Associates
Russell Johnson ¬– RJR Productions Inc.
Hal Kitchin – McGuire Woods LLP
Emily Longley – Longley Supply Co.
Capt. Howard Loving – U.S. Navy (Retired)
Connie Majure-Rhett – Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
Roy Morgan – Signs by Tomorrow
Dallas Romanowski – Cornerstone Advisory Partners
Jarrett Shearin – Senn Dunn Insurance
Mary Margaret Latham-Vann – Parkway Volvo
Bill Vasser – Screen Gems Studios
John Hinnant – Wilmington Downtown Inc
Jonathan Weiss – City Club at deRosset
Rob Ziglar – East Coast Contracting
More: continued here