KPTM (Omaha) - The Douglas County Republican Party is calling out City Councilman Ben Gray on his role in selecting which non-profit groups would be granted a firework sale permit this year.
"the issue with the firework permits that were granted by the city council is that there seems to be a conflict of interest," says Douglas County Republican Party member Bruce Dickes.
The Douglas County Republican Party has now filed a complaint against Gray. They're saying that Gray had a conflict of interest when selecting which non-profits would get a firework sale permit.
"Ben Gray was the founder of and served as the executive director and has recently been a director of Impact one which was one of the groups that was granted a permit this year," says Dickes.
"I was never an officer, never a director and at the time of the vote I wasn't even employed at Impact one," says Councilman Ben Gray.
Why all the drama over a firework permit? Well last year the 35 non-profit groups that were granted a firework permit generated more than $2.7 million in revenue. That's roughly tens of thousands of dollars that each non-profit was able to make.
The next problem the Douglas County Republican Party raised was the lack of transparency in the selection process. 81 groups applied for a firework sale permit this year and only 35 were selected. No explanation was given as to why those groups weren't selected.
"the criteria that was used is unavailable, we don't know why certain groups were chosen and other groups were not," adds Dickes.
"At the end of it and if we find, what I know we're going to find that there was no impropriety on my part that I would expect that the GOP would be man enough and woman enough to apologize," added Councilman Gray.