Duval Dems call for Independent Multi-Agency Investigation into Mayoral Office's Actions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Daniel Henry
daniel@duvaldems.org 

 

DUVAL DEMOCRATS CALL FOR INDEPENDENT MULTI-AGENCY INVESTIGATION INTO MAYORAL OFFICE’S ACTIONS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County Democratic Party is calling for an independent multi-agency investigation by the City of Jacksonville Inspector General, State Attorney for Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit, and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida into the actions of Mayor Lenny Curry’s office during the city’s “Stop the Violence” initiative. Specifically, we call for a conduct review of then officials Brian Hughes and Sam Mousa, and if they – or other members of the administration and the city's Office of General Counsel – exerted unlawful pressure to give favored treatment to select organizations, helping them secure thousands of dollars in public grant funding.

In a recent report by the Florida Times-Union, Kids Hope Alliance CEO Joe Peppers cites the disdain of Hughes and Mousa over his decision to hire a contract manager to oversee the initiative’s $364,000 in micro-grant money. “This is family talking; this is political,” Peppers claims Mousa said. During this private conversation, Hughes and Mousa urged the funds be managed in-house as “there would be designated applicants that would get preferential treatment during the application process,” according to Peppers. 

Peppers continued that he was expected to “pass certain applicants based on [Hughes and Mousa’s] discretion regardless of how they scored on the [request for proposal].” When he sought legal advice with the city’s Office of General Counsel, he was instructed by Deputy General Counsel Lawsikia Hodges to not “bite the hand that feeds” him and it was “not a big deal”.

This intimidation signifies the administration’s willingness to exert influence over a community program that was designed to help those in need and groups providing assistance to them. We are deeply concerned these actions amount to unlawful procurement fraud, abuses of executive power and possibly more unethical activity.

Additionally, this incident occurred in the months building up to the mayor’s re-election campaign. This leads to troubling concerns that taxpayer-funded micro-grants could have been utilized by the administration for political pay-offs to quiet criticism of Mayor Lenny Curry during the upcoming election cycle.

We demand the offices of the Inspector General, State Attorney, and U.S. Attorney explore the roles Hughes, Mousa, and the mayoral administration played in selecting micro-grant winners, and what role these preferred organizations played in the Curry re-election campaign. We also demand the actions and responses of Hodges be reviewed for unethical misconduct by the Florida Bar’s Department of Lawyer Regulation.

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Statement on JEA Board's Decision to Explore Privatization

STATEMENT ON JEA BOARD’S DECISION TO EXPLORE PRIVATIZATION

DUVAL DEMS OPPOSE THE SALE OF JEA

JACKSONVILLE, FL, July 24, 2019 -- Duval County Democratic Party released the following statement on the JEA board’s decision to explore privatization of the public-owned utility.

“Yesterday, the JEA board of directors unanimously voted to explore selling the city-owned electric and water utility — one of the largest such utilities in the nation. This decision would impact every resident of Jacksonville and hinder the public’s ability to hold JEA accountable and transparent.

“The impact of a sale would cede control of the city's most valuable asset, create a $118-million hole in the city’s budget, and would present negative long term consequences, long past any one-time rebate or short term benefit from a potential transaction. These effects would be felt by all ratepayers through the possibility of increased rates, additional fees, and lackluster service once a deal’s honeymoon period has surpassed. 

“We stand with the 73% of voters that expressed in 2018, their desire to have a say in the fate of JEA. The residents of Jacksonville deserve and demand transparency in a process that has operated in the shadows since the idea of selling the utility was first discussed in 2017. We also deserve better than reactionary quick-fixes to complex situations.

“For this and many additional concerns, the Duval County Democratic Party reiterates its opposition to the sale and/or privatization of JEA and encourages all ratepayers to express these concerns with their City Council members and demand transparency in discussions moving forward.”

 

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UNF Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Tax Referendum

 
 
According to the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab, approximately 75% of Duval County registered voters support the proposed sales tax to save our schools. That support is reportedly the strongest among registered Democrats (86%) but still garnered 60% of the support of registered Republicans.

This support is, even more, telling given the public’s view on how the Jacksonville City Council is dealing with the issue. Voters indicated by a margin of 46% to 34% that they disapprove of the way the City Council is handling its job.

Although 2019-380 has been deferred, it can be brought to a vote by Council Members or Council President Aaron Bowman at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. We need to show up in force next Tuesday at the City Council meeting! Remember, our efforts are amplified over and over again when we raise our voices together. 
 
👇 Voting Yes on Defer Hurts Our Kids! 👇
 
 
Here are some facts on what Duval County Public Schools are facing:
  • DCPS has the oldest schools in the state
  • Costs $500,000 a month to patch maintenance issues
  • PRESENT: $243 million in unfunded repairs and maintenance backlog
  • FUTURE: $5 billion unfunded repairs and maintenance costs
 
What Will a Half Penny Do for Our Schools?
 
💻 Council Members, you need to Contact: 📞
*Email a Council Member by clicking their name below*
 
Joyce Morgan: District 1, (904) 630-1389
Al Ferraro: District 2, (904) 630-1381
Aaron Bowman: District 3, (904) 630-1392
Scott Wilson: District 4, (904) 630-1394
Lori Boyer: District 5, (904) 630-1382
Matt Schellenberg: District 6, (904) 630-1388
Reggie Gaffney: District 7, (904) 630-1384
JuCoby Pittman: District 8, (904) 630-1385
Garrett Dennis: District 9, (904) 630-1395
Terrance Freeman: District 10, (904) 630-1684
Danny Becton: District 11, (904) 630-1383
Randy White: District 12, (904) 630-1380
Bill Gulliford: District 13, (904) 630-1397
Jim Love: District 14, (904) 630-1390
Anne Lopez Brosche: At-Large Group 1, (904) 630-1393
John Crescimbeni: At-Large Group 2, (904) 630-1381
Tommy Hazouri: At Large Group 3, (904) 630-1396
Greg Anderson: At-Large Group 4, (904) 630-1398
Sam Newby: At-Large Group 5, (904) 630-1387

It’s Time for Action on 2019-380!

Sales Tax Referendum for Our Schools | 2019-380
It’s Time for Action!
There are rumors a Council Member will try to WITHDRAW the Sales Tax Referendum at the City Council meeting on Tuesday! If successful, it would start the entire process over and we can't let this happen!!

Although 2019-380 has been deferred, it can be brought to a vote by Council Members or Council President Aaron Bowman at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. We need to show up in force next Tuesday at the City Council meeting! Remember, your efforts are amplified over and over again when we raise our voices together. 
 
 Voting Yes on Defer Hurts Our Kids! 
 
Here are some facts on what Duval County Public Schools are facing:
  • DCPS has the oldest schools in the state
  • Costs $500,000 a month to patch maintenance issues
  • PRESENT: $243 million in unfunded repairs and maintenance backlog
  • FUTURE: $5 billion unfunded repairs and maintenance costs
What Will a Half Penny Do for Our Schools?
 
 Council Members, you need to Contact: 
*Email a Council Member by clicking their name below*
 
Joyce Morgan: District 1, (904) 630-1389
Al Ferraro: District 2, (904) 630-1381
Aaron Bowman: District 3, (904) 630-1392
Scott Wilson: District 4, (904) 630-1394
Lori Boyer: District 5, (904) 630-1382
Matt Schellenberg: District 6, (904) 630-1388
Reggie Gaffney: District 7, (904) 630-1384
JuCoby Pittman: District 8, (904) 630-1385
Garrett Dennis: District 9, (904) 630-1395
Terrance Freeman: District 10, (904) 630-1684
Danny Becton: District 11, (904) 630-1383
Randy White: District 12, (904) 630-1380
Bill Gulliford: District 13, (904) 630-1397
Jim Love: District 14, (904) 630-1390
Anne Lopez Brosche: At-Large Group 1, (904) 630-1393
John Crescimbeni: At-Large Group 2, (904) 630-1381
Tommy Hazouri: At Large Group 3, (904) 630-1396
Greg Anderson: At-Large Group 4, (904) 630-1398
Sam Newby: At-Large Group 5, (904) 630-1387

Here’s where we are on the Sales Tax Referendum for our Schools

 
Sales Tax Referendum for Our Schools | 2019-380
Here's where we are...
 

On Tuesday after the City Council's Finance Committee took a step forward by approving the referendum and placing it on the November 2020 ballot, it faced a setback in the Rules Committee. The latest indication of outside interests and the Curry Administration exerting pressure and playing political games. Politics seems to stand between our children’s needs as well as the future of Duval.

 
 

Lori Boyer attempted to defer the bill in Finance Committee but failed after the heated debate (3-4 vote), ultimately voting for the amended bill. Two (2) hours later, she moved to defer the bill again in Rules Committee and was successful (5-2 vote). Voting to defer the bill until the new City Council is sworn-in next month. Boyer will become DIA CEO next month, a position that works closely with the Curry administration and will replace Brian Hughes, Curry's Chief of Staff.

The School Board was quick to remind the 'defer voters' a month delay will cost the District and taxpayers another $500,000 in maintenance/repair costs and bring further uncertainty. But their concerns were met with indifference.

 
 
👇 Voting Yes on Defer Hurts Our Kids! 👇
 
 
👇 Urge City Council to bring 2019-380 up for a Vote! 👇
 
Although 2019-380 has been deferred, it can be brought to a vote by City Council Members or Council President Aaron Bowman at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. Remember, your efforts are amplified over and over again when we raise our voices together. Email or call City Council Members and urge them to bring 2019-380 to a vote!
 
What Will a Half Penny Do for Our Schools?
 
Here are some facts on what Duval County Public Schools are facing:
  • DCPS has the oldest schools in the state
  • $500,000 is spent each month to patch maintenance issues that don't solve the problem
  • PRESENT: $243 million in unfunded repairs and maintenance backlog
  • FUTURE: $5 billion unfunded repairs and maintenance costs
 
💻 Council Members, we need to Contact: 📞
*Email a Council Member by clicking their name below*
Joyce Morgan: District 1, (904) 630-1389
Al Ferraro: District 2, (904) 630-1381
Aaron Bowman: District 3, (904) 630-1392
Scott Wilson: District 4, (904) 630-1394
Lori Boyer: District 5, (904) 630-1382
Matt Schellenberg: District 6, (904) 630-1388
Reggie Gaffney: District 7, (904) 630-1384
JuCoby Pittman: District 8, (904) 630-1385
Garrett Dennis: District 9, (904) 630-1395
Terrance Freeman: District 10, (904) 630-1684
Danny Becton: District 11, (904) 630-1383
Randy White: District 12, (904) 630-1380
Bill Gulliford: District 13, (904) 630-1397
Jim Love: District 14, (904) 630-1390
Anne Lopez Brosche: At-Large Group 1, (904) 630-1393
John Crescimbeni: At-Large Group 2, (904) 630-1381
Tommy Hazouri: At Large Group 3, (904) 630-1396
Greg Anderson: At-Large Group 4, (904) 630-1398
Sam Newby: At-Large Group 5, (904) 630-1387


Statement on the Sales Tax Referendum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Angie Nixon, First Vice Chair

Duval Democratic Party Executive Committee
info@duvaldems.org | 904.610.7103

 

STATEMENT ON THE SALES TAX REFERENDUM

DUVAL DEMS SUPPORT 2019-380

JACKSONVILLE, FL, June 18, 2019 -- The Duval County Democratic Party released the following statement on the proposed 2019 Sales Tax Referendum and its upcoming vote in City Council. 

“Yesterday, our party membership approved a resolution supporting the passage of Ordinance 2019-380. We feel that the community deserves the right to make this decision regarding our schools and it should be done at the ballot box.”

“ALL children, in ALL ZIP CODES should be afforded the same right, which is to learn and receive a quality education in buildings that are not crumbling and/or in utter disrepair. Duval County Public Schools have the oldest schools in the state - with over $243 million in unfunded repairs and maintenance costs. In 5 years, the unfunded repairs will total over $5 billion.”

“For this and so many reasons, the Duval County Democratic Party supports the proposed 2019 Sales Tax Referendum and encourages all City Council Members to vote yes on 2019-380.”



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No Show Terrance Freeman Skips Another Forum with Jacksonville Voters

No Show Terrance Freeman Skips Another Forum with Jacksonville Voters

While Freeman Dodges Voters, King is Laying Out Her Vision for a Stronger, Safer Jacksonville

This is the Second Forum in Two Weeks Freeman Has Refused to Show Up To

Jacksonville, Fla. -- Why is Terrance Freeman ducking the voters?

This evening, No Show Terrance Freeman refused to attend the Beaches Watch At-Large City Council Candidate Forum. It’s the second time in the past two weeks that Freeman has skipped a candidates forum that Lisa King has attended. Last week, Freeman also failed to show up to the League of Women Voters forum -- instead opting to attend a fundraiser put on by special interests.

Lisa King is the only candidate in this race who is showing up for the people of Jacksonville and telling them what she’ll do for them. Lisa is ready to work for Jacksonville. In stark contrast, Terrance Freeman seems to have a campaign strategy of ducking the issues and dodging voters.”

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BOUGHT AND PAID FOR: Terrance Freeman and Randy DeFoor Sell Out to Lenny Curry

BOUGHT AND PAID FOR:
Terrance Freeman and Randy DeFoor Sell Out to Lenny Curry

In Tweets, Freeman and DeFoor Will Be Complicit in Curry’s Culture of Intimidation and Corruption

Berkman Deal Debacle Has Made Clear The Critical Need for Independent Oversight on City Council

Lenny Curry’s administration is beset by scandal, the stench of the Berkman deal debacle, and a hyper-politicized culture of intimidation.

And that’s just the way City Council candidates Terrance Freeman and Randy DeFoor like it.

In Jacksonville’s version of the corrupt bargain, the mayor tweeted pictures of himself with Freeman and DeFoor in front of City Hall and said he was giving them “campaign resources.” The tweets make clear that Freeman and DeFoor are bought and paid for by the Curry machine — and that both candidates are comfortable with the way the mayor’s record of scandal and incompetence.

“The Berkman deal debacle has made clear the critical need for a City Council that is unafraid to stand up to Mayor Curry, provide strong oversight of this administration, and protect taxpayer money. Terrance Freeman and Randy DeFoor this week made clear that they are simply running to be two yes votes for the Mayor and his ethically challenged administration. Now more than ever we need City Council members who are unbought and unbossed by the corrupt Curry machine,” said Duval County Democratic Party Chair Daniel Henry.

The tweets come just two days after the Jacksonville Times-Union reported that Curry’s Chief of Staff Brian Hughes allegedly threatened to retaliate against Republican City Councilman Matt Schellenberg for speaking out against the Berkman deal debacle. Earlier, Schellenberg was threatened by Hughes for expressing disappointment that the Curry administration had failed to uncover “$11 million in financial judgments” against the main investor behind a project backed by the administration.
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Bombshell Report: Lenny Curry and Co.’s Culture of Corruption and Intimidation Is Even Worse Than You Thought

Bombshell Report: Lenny Curry and Co.’s Culture of Corruption and Intimidation Is Even Worse Than You Thought

New Report Underscores Need for Independent Voices on City Council

Curry and Co. Are Using Threats and Intimidation to Defend Disgraced Development Deal

In a bombshell report, the Jacksonville Times-Union today revealed that Lenny Curry’s Chief of Staff Brian Hughes allegedly threatened to retaliate against Republican City Councilman Matt Schellenberg for speaking out against a shady deal with developers. After Schellenberg expressed “disappointment” about the deal, the Mayor’s team cryptically threatened to block Schellenberg's priorities for the rest of his term.

What did Schellenberg really do wrong in the eyes of Team Curry? Simply express regret that the administration had failed to uncover “$11 million in financial judgments” against the main investor behind a project backed by the administration. That's right: in Lenny Curry's Jacksonville, calling for clean government and the responsible use of taxpayer money gets you punished.

Even worse, Hughes is set to get a big promotion. In two months, Hughes will become the City of Jacksonville's Chief Administrative Office — an even more powerful perch from which he'll be able to double down on City Hall's policy of abusing taxpayer money, silencing dissent — and defending crooked deals.

“Mayor Curry has created a culture of intimidation and corruption in City Hall that rewards corporate special interests — and silences everyone else,” said Duval County Democratic Chair Daniel Henry. “Today’s report makes clear we need to elect independent voices who aren’t afraid to stand up to the Mayor and his cronies and put the people of Jacksonville first.  We need Councilmembers who will safeguard taxpayer money and fight for clean government — not be another rubber stamp for the Mayor."

BACKGROUND:

Jacksonville Times-Union: Jacksonville City Councilman: Mayor’s staffer threatened retaliation for Berkman criticism

  • A Jacksonville City Council member said Brian Hughes, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff and the interim leader of the Downtown Investment Authority, threatened retaliation against him after he criticized an incentive-rich deal to redevelop downtown’s vacant Berkman 2 property, which faces an uncertain future after a Mississippi development firm backed out of the deal last week.
  • In a Times-Union story about $11 million in financial judgments against companies tied to the Stewart family, whose family trust is the main investor of the now-foiled Berkman project, Councilman Matt Schellenberg said he was “disappointed” that the DIA didn’t uncover the financial problems before asking the City Council to sign off on the development deal and called for an investigation into the company.
  • Hours after the story published online on Friday, Hughes sent Schellenberg two text messages: a screenshot of Schellenberg’s quote in the story and a cryptic statement.
  • “I hope Matt gets everything he needs prior to June 30,” Hughes wrote, in reference to Schellenberg’s last day in office later this year.
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Duval Dems Responds to Duval GOP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Daniel Henry, Chair
Duval Democratic Party Executive Committee
daniel@duvaldems.org
C: 904.708.0749


DUVAL DEMS CHAIR RESPONDS TO DUVAL GOP

JACKSONVILLE, FL, February 11, 2019 -- Duval County Democratic Party Chair Daniel Henry today released the following statement in response to the Duval GOP’s false attacks.

“The Duval County Democratic Party represents every facet of our large and incredibly diverse community. On January 28th, our party passed a unanimous resolution opposing the re-election of Lenny Curry. We recognize the devastating impacts Curry has had on transparency in government, the continuation of the Curry Crime Wave, removal of opponents from city boards, bullying and demands of loyalty from public officials, and the attempted sale JEA.

“It is deeply saddening to see a fractured Duval GOP perpetuate partisan attacks during this unitary election. This is endemic of the toxic national political discourse Curry has brought to our community. Contrary to their false claims, we are unanimously certain the re-election of Curry is not in the best interest of Jacksonville and passed a resolution reflecting our views without the influence of any candidates.

“Although they claim the endorsement of two (2) Democratic officials represent “broad bi-partisan support”, nothing could be further from reality. In fact, it stands in direct contrast to the overwhelming and diverse opposition to Lenny Curry from members of the Democratic Party and the community as a whole.

“We reiterate our opposition to the re-election of Lenny Curry and encourage all Democrats to vote for the candidate that best represents Democratic values.”

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