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City Council Approves Annual GFW Contract, Amid Concerns

City of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne City Council voted 6-3 to approve its annual contract with economic development organization Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. Tuesday night for a total of $250,000, but the conversation wasn’t without its challenges.

Fourth district councilman Jason Arp, who voted against the deal, raised concerns over a potential conflict of interest. He says Greater Fort Wayne CEO Eric Doden should recuse himself from any involvement or advocacy for the Electric Works development because his son Daryle, owner of Ambassador Enterprise, has financial interest in the project.

Arp wasn’t alone. Second district councilman Russ Jehl echoed his concerns.

“Common sense says with $115 million in public funds, $50 million of which are already procured from the state, potential conflicts or appearance of conflict should be disclosed,” Jehl said.

Greater Fort Wayne board chair Andrew Thomas says the nonprofit will address any conflicts of interest as they arise, and the contract was ultimately approved. He added that in 2017 alone, Greater Fort Wayne created nearly 1,900 jobs resulting in $242 million in total local investment.