The secret’s in the sauce. But for Jacksonville City Councilwoman Katrina Brown, the lawsuit’s in the 4th Judicial Circuit.
Earlier this month, the city filed suit against Brown, a first-term Democratic member of the Council’s Finance Committee, for breach of guaranty, relative to a defaulted loan of $380,000 to the Browns’ family business, CoWealth LLC. [COJ v Katrina Brown]
CoWealth defaulted on the loan after Jan. 1 2017, per the filing, which noted that the city is owed over $346,000 in principal, in addition to interest, late charges, and so forth.
The city has retained Burr and Forman LLP to represent its interests.
To recap, the city fronted CoWealth $380,000 of loans from the city of Jacksonville and $220,000 of grants in 2011 to build a BBQ sauce plant in Northwest Jacksonville. The grant money was conditional on the company creating 56 permanent jobs, but none were created.
This news is ill-timed for Councilwoman Brown, who has drawn no fewer than seven challengers for her District 8 seat.
Six of them were from her own Democratic Party. One of the challengers died soon after filing, leaving five Democrats and one NPA candidate in the mix.
Despite bad news cycles including the business woes described above, and an altercation with local police when a Council colleague was pulled over by police, Brown nonetheless is running for re-election.
In her first month of actual fundraising, Brown raked in $7,000, from $500 and $1,000 checks.
Advocates for Business Growth ponied up, as did developers (the Sonoc Company, Leone Development and Nocatee Development, along with Sleiman Holdings), and attorneys interested in development (Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow).
Brown is still in a distant third place in terms of total money raised. The leader, Tameka Gaines Holly, brought in $3,458 in April (much of the money from within the district), leaving her with roughly $19,000 on hand.
One wonders what fundraising for May will look like, given this recent news.