04/01/14 — City finances part of Dail settlement

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City finances part of Dail settlement

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 1, 2014 1:46 PM

The city of Goldsboro will retroactively finance $1.7 million of $2.7 million it paid to a man who spent an extra 12 years in prison for a rape he did not commit due to the Police Department's negligence.

Dwayne Dail settled with the city for $7.5 million in November. Dail, who was wrongly convicted of the rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1989 and spent nearly two decades in jail, was later cleared when DNA evidence surfaced.

Dail's attorneys had requested evidence in 1995 for DNA testing in an effort to clear Dail but were told it had been destroyed.

A nightgown, which was stained with bodily fluids from the attacker, was found in an evidence locker at the GPD in 2007. The nightgown was been entered into evidence during the original investigation

DNA testing cleared Dail and implicated another man, William Neal, who is now serving life in prison for the crime.

The city issued an apology for misplacing the evidence that was the key to Dail's exoneration when the terms of the settlement were released in November.

The city's insurance company paid $4.8 million.

The city paid its portion of the settlement from the city's General Fund, with the intention of later financing the $2.7 million.

The city will pay $1.7 million of the settlement through a general obligation bond to pay the General Fund back a portion of what was spent.

The bond, which does not require a public vote, allows a municipality to finance up to two-thirds of the money paid on current debt during the fiscal year.

"We weren't able to finance it in the usual way with an installment purchase because it isn't a capital project," Goldsboro Finance Director Kaye Scott said. "State statute requires it be a capital project."

Capital projects includes new construction, renovations to existing buildings or building acquisitions.

The city has already paid off $2.5 million of its existing debt, allowing it to finance $1.7 million toward the Dail payment.

"This is really the only way we can borrow this," Mrs. Scott said. "It's not that it's the best option. It's the only option."

By putting up the money paid out on existing debt, the city risks back-tracking on the city's debt payments but the budget can handle it, Mrs. Scott said.

"It's a small risk, but there is always a risk with financing anything," she said.

The city will bid the bonds out on a five-year and 10-year schedule and decide which rate is better.

City insurance premiums did not increase as a result of the settlement due to the city now purchasing insurance from a different carrier from when the negligence occurred, Mrs. Scott said. The former insurer paid the Dail claim.