As we first reported the downfall of former Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo is having a ripple effect on one of the city’s key fundraising operations.

It’s Omaha’s long existing plan doling out fireworks permits to worthy nonprofit groups.

Since Palermo’s ouster those plans have been under review and now we have the new details.

[View our full video report above]

For years fireworks in Omaha have been sold by a handful of big dealers but only after contracting with a non-profit which had the city permit needed to make those sales. But that permit process is on the verge of changing and here’s why. Former Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo was gaming the system.

January, 2023

Joe Jordan, NCN: “Mr. Palermo, can I ask you a few questions?”

Palermo refusing to talk publicly until he pleaded guilty and now faces up to 21 months in prison for one count of federal wire fraud.

August, 2023

Federal Judge Cheryl Zwart: “You were also a member of a committee that awarded fireworks permits to nonprofits in the city of Omaha, correct?”

Vinny Palermo: “Not that entire time.

Judge Zwart: “OK, but during part of it?”

Palermo: “Yes, your honor.”

Judge Zwart: “Did you also work along with or know Johnny Palermo and Richard Gonzalez?”

Palermo: “Yes, your honor.”

Judge Zwart: “Did you along with those two defendants come up with a plan where you would assist in having fireworks permits provided to PACE?”

Palermo: “I would say, yes.”

Palermo the first of four defendants in the case to admit to what the judge called a scheme, helping two of the three others, former Omaha police officers Rich Gonzalez and Johnny Palermo get their hands on fireworks permits for PACE a non-profit aimed at keeping inner city kids in sports and out of trouble.

Randy Paragas, Palermo’s Attorney: “The government was alleging, and Mr. Palermo has pleaded to, that there was some type of agreement that he would vote in favor of the benefits to those organizations in exchange for trips and that sort of thing.”

Joe Jordan, NCN: Did it ever come to your thoughts, this is a potentially corrupt system?”

Aimee Melton: “I've been complaining about this for a long time. Wasn't alleging that any council member ever engaged in the corruption, but I said it's ripe for it.”

And now City Council Vice-President Aimee Melton is leading the charge to change the non-profit fireworks permit game.

Up until now each council member would choose three non-profits, once picked they’re in, no questions asked. But the new plan would find each council member and the mayor submitting the names of up to 10 non-profits, 80 in all. Those names then tossed in a hat, a lottery, to pick 40.

The goal of all this is to end the non-profit cherry picking. The winners of the lottery will be announced later this year. No indication yet if PACE, the controversial non-profit linked to the Palermo investigation, will be part of that lottery.