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Jacksonville Bold for 5.12.17 – Fantasia

Big political news of the week, maybe: State Rep. Jay Fant decides to run for Attorney General.

A bold move — given he’s running from Jacksonville (not a hotbed of votes), and that he’d downplayed his attorney experience up until now.

Fant went statewide Tuesday, talking to the press in Tallahassee, Tampa and Orlando, before heading home to Jacksonville to close the night.

Statewide, Fant preached the gospel of Pam Bondi: Hosannas galore for the Attorney General, even when it came to her handling Trump University.

The press was mostly respectful … though the tweet from Capitol reporter Troy Kinsey comparing Fant to evangelist Joel Osteen may have bordered on irreverence.

Then Fant came home to close the night out. Our source on hand said that no important NE Florida Republicans were there. No Lenny Curry. No state House colleagues. No City Councilors.

Curry, we understand, may just sit on his hands in this one. His political committee hasn’t put any money into Fant’s committee, “Pledge This Day,” which has $75,000 on hand.

Locals, we hear, are excited to have a candidate from NE Florida running statewide. But is Fant the right candidate from the area?

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis — a fundraising powerhouse — is considering the race. Heck, some say Sen. Rob Bradley should give it a go.

Fant’s hill to climb: all at once, and quickly, he has to get his money right, prove gravitas, and boost name ID — hard to do with only $75K banked.

Fant’s ‘Tia Talk’

Tia Mitchell talked to Fant for the Florida Times-Union. The quotes were interesting …

“Defending the Constitution and enforcing the rule of law is something that can keep me up at night and get me out of bed in the morning,” Fant said Monday.

“The Legislature has been a wonderful experience, but I’m more of someone who likes to administer public policy for an organization, as opposed to standing on the soapbox and screaming all the time, which is what we have to do in the Legislature,” Fant added.

Jay Fant’s the odd man out in the House. How will he do running statewide?

So Fant is interested in “enforcing the rule of law,” rather than making laws — an important point.

“Culturally, there seems to be a lot of pop culture bent against law enforcement, kind of neo-1960s dismissal of our law enforcement people,” he said. “I think that’s a harmful trend, and I hate to see people go after our guys and girls in the blue.”

Is this for real?

Fant connects with Raymond Johnson

Fant’s special announcement was less notable for the announcement — made to the donor class months ago — than for the event’s controversial hypeman: Raymond Johnson.

Of all the hypemen in the world, why did Jay Fant pick this guy?

Johnson is known for virulent anti-homosexual rhetoric, which has even been an embarrassment to fellow Republicans.

Fant’s campaign asserts that Johnson is “not a hire.” Fine. But why was he the point of contact for the launch for his campaign?

Al Lawson has ‘favorite son’ town hall in Gadsden County

U.S. Rep. Lawson may have a learning curve in “Dirty Duval.” But he is golden, a “favorite son” in Gadsden County, according to the Havana Herald.

Highlights? There was some new info from his town hall last week.

Al Lawson was received warmly in the western part of the district. Quelle surprise.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis has been mentoring freshman legislators, Lawson said.

“He is truly there to help us get a chance to congregate as freshmen,” he said.

Lawson also discussed food deserts and nutritional deprivation, noting that some school students are hurting so bad for a decent meal that “kids on Fridays put food in their backpacks because they might have no other food on weekends.”

As you can see below, hunger was also a theme in a Jacksonville appearance.

Lenny Curry committee makes it rain in April

April was a big month for Jacksonville Mayor Curry, as he was making the final sale of his pension reform to the Jacksonville City Council.

To that end, his political committee [“Build Something That Lasts”] spent big: $122,000.

The wins keep coming for Lenny Curry.

Of that money, $100,000 went to ad buys — which facilitated an effective television ad that drove people to call the Jacksonville City Council and show support.

The ad worked: pension reform passed without a no vote.

Curry secured $55,000 of donations in April, with Tom Petway, Michael Munz and John Rood giving.

The committee has roughly $230,000 cash on hand, and with Curry staying put in Jacksonville after withdrawing from the CFO search, he will have time to replenish the coffers.

Paul Renner delivers big for Flagler, St. Johns dune restoration

When Flagler County commissioners recently workshopped an update on recovery from Hurricane Matthew, concerns arose over money appropriated by the Legislature.

More specifically, what was not being appropriated.

“I’m hearing we might not even come close to the $10 million we were hoping for,” Commission Chair Nate McLaughlin told FlaglerLive.com.

However, Republican state Rep. Renner, whose district includes all of Flagler County, came to the rescue. By the end of the 2017 Session, Renner secured $13.3 million for emergency repairs in his district.

Paul Renner comes through with $13.3 million for emergency dune repairs in Flagler, St. Johns (Photo: Flagler Live)

But the money came with the catch, as far as Flagler is concerned: it would have to be shared between Flagler and St. Johns counties, leaving a certain uncertainty over how the Department of Environmental Protection will split the amount. The DEP oversees administering the money and of some of the beach-restoration work for Hurricane Matthew repairs, after the storm sheared off enormous chunks of beach sand and dunes in Flagler County.

“DEP will administer that based upon the county’s needs,” Renner said in an interview. “So, we believe that that in combination, with the possibility of some funds from the main beaches budget, will be adequate to cover the entirety of the local match in Flagler County.”

Laura Street Trio, Barnett Building in play

Good news for those wanting downtown development to continue on the upswing! The Florida Times-Union reports that Curry is committed to the renovation of the properties, and the city is willing to put in $9.8M in incentives to make that happen.

With pension put to bed, next is downtown dev.

“With a keen focus on increasing economic development throughout the city, building public-private partnerships, and ensuring a return on the city’s investments to taxpayers, my administration has been able to successfully negotiate a redevelopment agreement where others have stalled and failed,” Curry asserted.

“Any redevelopment project I present to City Council will reflect a return to taxpayers,” Curry added. “This one is no exception.”

City incentives are “part of $78 million worth of work to turn the buildings into a mix of apartments, hotel rooms, restaurants, rooftop bar, bank and bodega market,” the T-U report added.

All of this would be done within about three years.

School Board, Nikolai Vitti rail against HB 7069

Newsflash: the Duval County School Board and the state Legislature are sideways on education reform, with board members and outgoing Superintendent Vitti messaging hard against changes Monday before the legislature approved the bill, as WJXT reports.

On his way out, Nikolai Vitti is getting political. Interesting play while packing the moving van.

“Not only are we underfunded for infrastructure, but we will see less funding and an acceleration of funding to charter schools,” Vitti said. “This “reform” is — I call it reform because that’s what the Legislature is calling it — it’s not reform. It’s hijacking of the legislative process to favor charter schools. In other words, to favor the few over the many.”

The controversial bit of the bill: the “Schools of Hope” program, incentivizing charter schools taking on students from failing schools — and upsetting the funding formula.

Police Union 1, ‘F— the Police’ 0

In the wake of a springtime clash between anti-Trump protesters and Jacksonville police officers, a very public clash soon ensued on Facebook between Jacksonville Ethics Commission nominee Leslie Jean-Bart and Fraternal Order of Police head Steve Zona.

“F— the police”: a bridge too far for Jacksonville’s City Hall

That clash — which involved, among other things, Jean-Bart defending protesters using the inflammatory phrase “f — the police” by posting that “Also, F*** the Police is protected free speech. I’m not going to condemn it because there is no reason to do so” — has now reached the denouement.

And it appears Jean-Bart will not be moving toward the Ethics Commission anytime soon, with the City Council withdrawing the bill that would put her on.

The nomination was withdrawn at the request of its sponsor: Public Defender Charles Cofer.

In the words of Ice-T: “Freedom of speech … just watch what you say.”

Save the date: Florida Foundation for Liberty is hosting a fundraising reception for Rep. Renner Thursday, May 25. Reception begins 5:30 p.m. at The River Club, 1 Independent Dr. #3500, in Jacksonville. RSVP to Katie Ballard at (954) 803-3942 or katie@kballardconsult.com.

UF Health North cuts ribbon on new inpatient hospital

UF Health North unveiled its new inpatient hospital, as UF Health leaders and community members took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

 

The second phase of UF Health North is another step closer to reality

The 92-bed tower is connected by walkways to the current medical office complex, the heart of the campus, which has been open since 2015. The new hospital consists of five floors, four for patients with all private rooms.

There is a 20-bed unit dedicated to labor and delivery and other women’s services, a 24-bed floor dedicated to the intensive care, two 24-bed floors devoted to general medical inpatients, and one floor of administrative services, a chapel, a cafeteria and more.

Night at the Zoo

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will be in a whole new light with Night at the Zoo events from 6:30-10 p.m. Live music, food trucks, cash bars, and visitors will have a chance to see animal exhibits until 8:30 p.m. on June 23, July 14, July 28 and August 11.

There will be animal encounters, keeper talks, bounce houses and more. Tickets for members are $5/adults and $3/children (3-12); nonmembers are $10/adult and $5/children (3-12). Child 2 and under: free (but still require a ticket) Tickets are available by pre-sale, online purchase only.

JAXPORT adds Hans-Mill Corporation

Hans-Mill Corporation, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of metal and plastic household products, is opening a state-of-the-art manufacturing center near the JAXPORT North Jacksonville marine terminals.

The 121,000-square-foot facility IS for manufacturing, assembling and distributing stainless steel trash cans and plastic household products sold at major retailers around the world.

Hans-Mill will use JAXPORT to import materials used in its manufacturing process from Asia, as well as for the import of finished goods for U.S. distribution. In addition, the company has been granted permission to operate within JAXPORT’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 64. The facility, which already serves as the company’s headquarters, stands for an $11 million investment in Northeast Florida, creating 23 new, direct jobs.

Shrimp Story

Some good news for fans of minor league baseball in Jacksonville, from First Coast News.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are showing a 73 percent YOY increase in attendance — a validation of the once-controversial and once-derided change of the team’s name from the Suns.

Crustacean Nation has a posse, with new branding driving interest.

Purists balked. But with new promotions and a new look, baseball is juiced once again at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

That’s the biggest increase in turnstile traffic in minor league baseball. The second biggest has a local connection as well: the Columbia Fireflies. The South Carolina A club features Tim Tebow at the plate, and casual fans at the gate, with a 43 percent uptick year over year.

Armada remain undefeated thanks to late equalizer

The Jacksonville Armada FC recorded a late comeback to draw with the New York Cosmos Saturday night. In the 95th minute, Zach Steinberger nailed a clutch goal to give the Armada FC (2W-4D-0L) a 1-1 draw with the New York Cosmos (2W-3D-1L) after trailing from the 23rd minute onward.

Kartik Krishnaiyer reports that New York’s early goal came courtesy of Javi Marquez. Jacksonville goalkeeper Caleb Sewell-Patterson had a great game once again making key saves to keep the Armada within striking distance.

“That performance was the best performance I’ve ever seen from the Armada against the New York Cosmos, who are one of the best teams in the NASL over the past few years,” said head coach Mark Lowry. The Cosmos have won 3 of the last 4 NASL Championships.

A goal by #6 Marquez in the 24th minute has the New York Cosmos up by one (Photo: Facebook).

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Armada Midfielder Kevan George. “We’re a team. Our chemistry and grind from preseason is what brought us to this point. Are we surprised that we tied the game? No, we knew we had it in us. We just have to keep going and get wins.”

Jacksonville faces North Carolina FC in NASL play Saturday. The Armada will be looking to continue its undefeated run and jump back into first place with a win. Jacksonville has drawn four straight games.

Meanwhile, the Armada FC learned who they’d face in next week’s US Open Second Round. Miami United will be the opposition after a late winner sunk Boca Raton FC. Local playing legend Nacho scored the game-winning goal in the 87th minute for Miami in a game where Boca Raton recorded the majority of chances, particularly in the second half. Miami’s goal against the run of play was impressive and showed the side could counterattack well, something Lowery and the Armada FC will have to account for in next week’s matchup.

The match will take place Tuesday, May 16, at Hialeah’s Ted Hendricks Stadium.

 

Corrine Brown trial coverage: GUILTY on 18 counts; motion for new trial pending

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown faced myriad federal counts related to conspiracy to defraud via what prosecutors call a fake charity: “One Door for Education.” Those charges include conspiracy to commit and aiding and abetting wire and mail fraud, and multiple counts of fraudulent filing of federal tax returns.

FloridaPolitics.com delivered deep-dive coverage of the entire trial: jury selectionopening statements; the government’s case, including exhibits and witnesses; the defense testimony, which mostly comprised of Corrine Brown on the stand; closing arguments; jury deliberation; the final verdict; and everything else that matters.

____

After deliberation started Monday and spilled over into Thursday afternoon, a jury returned a unanimous verdict in the case of former United States Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

With 22 complex counts, it was inevitable that deliberation would take hours, if not days. It took three full days for the jury to resolve the multiple issues related to tax fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy in what was the political trial of the century in Northeast Florida.

Brown was found guilty on 18 total counts, which sets her up potentially for a prison sentence of over 300 years, and fines and restitution in the millions of dollars.

On Count 1 — conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud — the jury ruled that Brown was found guilty of mail and wire fraud both.

Counts 2 through 17 involved mail fraud and wire fraud. Counts 2 through 8 — mail fraud — come down to shipments of checks via FedEx; counts 9 through 17 — wire fraud — involve interstate wire transfers, emails, et al.

Graphics detailing these counts can be found below.

Counts 2 through 8 saw Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley at the other end of the mail solicited from donors, with the biggest pitch being for a check upward of $28,000 from a single donor.

The jury ruled that Brown was guilty on five of the seven counts: 2, 4, 6, 7, 8.

On Counts 3 and 5, Brown was not found guilty.

Counts 9 through 17 saw Simmons soliciting checks from donors on some, with some “pass-through” transactions reflected in some counts, through the Alexander Agency — the agency of former Brown part-time employee Von Alexander.

The jury ruled that Brown was guilty on seven of the nine counts: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17.

She escaped a guilty verdict on Counts 14 and 16.

On Count 19 — scheme to conceal material facts on Congressional financial disclosure forms — the jury ruled that Brown was guilty.

Count 20 — scheme to conceal material facts — was predicated on “underreporting income” and “bogus” charitable deductions. The jury ruled that Brown was guilty.

Counts 21 to 24: four tax counts. 21 is to “obstruct and impede the due administration of Internal Revenue laws”, with false tax returns from 2012 to 2014 constituting the final three tax counts. Brown was found guilty on all.

Brown will not be imprisoned immediately, Judge Timothy Corrigan said. A sentencing hearing will be months down the road.

Brown exited the courthouse before 3 p.m., looking shaken as she was walked to a black Mercedes, pushing through a phalanx of cameras and mikes like Moses parting the Red Sea.

But there were no miracles for Brown. Only a helicopter overhead and a half-dozen supporters yelling “We love you, Corrine, no matter what!”

Brown’s lawyer, James Smith, said this is just part 1 of the process. While Brown “respects the verdict,” he will file a motion for a new trial.

Smith wouldn’t comment on the jury or the venue — two potentially dispositive factors in this case.

And, with no light in his eyes whatsoever, the Orlando lawyer said that “it may seem like the end of the game, but it’s really the first quarter.”

____

Here’s what jurors considered:

By the numbers: The government claims that over $800,000 was raised from defrauded, duped donors. Of that, $330,000 of One Door money went to Corrine Brown events. And $141,000 of shady cash deposits coursed into her checking account from pass-through sources from 2009 to 2015.

Cash me outside: The government’s case is predicated on donor testimony, which boils down to Brown obliquely pitching the charity as a way to give to her, for reluctant Republican donors who wanted to give outside of normal campaign finance. They sought access; they got it.

But were donors actually defrauded? The defense has asserted that no promises were made saying that all donor money would go to scholarships for underprivileged children. And that Brown delivered on some charity — both directly and indirectly (via rainmaking) at these events.

Born to roll: With friends like Corrine Brown had, who needed enemies? Old staffers, ranging from former co-defendant and chief of staff Ronnie Simmons to former Jacksonville staffer Von Alexander, contend that Brown orchestrated cash deposits from One Door into her own account. Brown denies this.

Conspiracy theory: Brown’s take? They’re trying to destroy my life!” Brown contends that staffers handled her finances, and handled her taxes and the Congressional financial disclosure forms — thus giving her plausible deniability when it comes to not knowing why hundreds of thousands of dollars of shady pass-through money funded a lifestyle that often cost $10,000 more in a given month than Brown made.

Reasonable doubt: Can Brown convince one juror that she is not provably guilty? Can she do that on all 22 counts she faces? Brown’s defense has been predicated on the emotional appeal, with her saying, over and over again, that she would never have taken money from the scholarship fund for her own expenses. She’s pinned the blame on Ronnie Simmons. Will jurors buy it?

____

The counts:

Count 1: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Counts 2 through 17: mail fraud and wire fraud. Counts 2 through 8 — mail fraud — come down to shipments of checks via FedEx; counts 9 through 17 — wire fraud — involve interstate wire transfers, emails, et al. Graphics detailing these counts can be found at the bottom of this piece.

Counts 2 through 8 saw Ronnie Simmons and Carla Wiley at the other end of the mail solicited from donors, with the biggest pitch being for a check upward of $28,000 from a single donor; Counts 9 through 17 saw Simmons soliciting checks from donors on some, with a number of “pass-through” transactions reflected in some counts, through the Alexander Agency — the agency of former Brown part-time employee Von Alexander.

In the cases of Alexander and Simmons, the alleged co-conspirators have asserted they did their deeds at Brown’s behest, and they felt they “couldn’t say no” — thus constituting a conspiracy, in the government’s argument, with Brown atop.

Count 19: scheme to conceal material facts on Congressional financial disclosure forms — which failed to reflect Brown’s “extra income” from One Door and other pass-through sources.

Count 20: scheme to conceal material facts on tax forms — predicated on “underreporting income” and “bogus” charitable deductions to various Jacksonville nonprofits. The donation inflation was big: over $27,000 a year between 2009 and 2015 (off $6,600 a year of actual, provable charity).

Counts 21 to 24: four tax counts. 21 is to “obstruct and impede the due administration of Internal Revenue laws,” with false tax returns from 2012 to 2014 constituting the final three tax counts.

___

What’s next: Jury deliberation continues. 

Rob Bradley touts big appropriations for Clay County in new budget

There are winners and losers in every budget process, and Sen. Rob Bradley asserted Thursday that Clay County was a winner this year.

“It was a challenging session,” said Bradley. “I’m incredibly proud of what the Clay County legislative delegation was able to accomplish for this community.”

Bradley, chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, pushed for and got recurring funds of $13.3 million earmarked for water replenishment in the St. Johns River and Keystone Heights Lake Region.

We reported on this issue earlier this year.

“After years of researching and talking and planning, we now have actual funding to start addressing the needs of these wonderful natural resources that define our region,” Bradley remarked.

Another Clay County project with regional importance: $135M for the First Coast Expressway, increasingly necessary as Northeast Florida continues to grow and face transportation capacity challenges.

Melissa Nelson rolls out juvenile civil citations MOU

Fulfilling a campaign promise from 2016, 4th Circuit State Attorney Melissa Nelson rolled out on Wednesday an initiative designed to increase the use of civil citations for juvenile offenders, via a memorandum of understanding among various local and regional agencies.

“This new agreement for pre-arrest diversion will expand and enhance the juvenile civil citation program uniformly throughout the circuit,” read a release from Nelson’s office.

Speakers and stakeholders abounded at the event, including Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, and Fourth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Mark Mahon.

The use of civil citations was something controversial in the 2016 campaign, with then-incumbent Angela Corey more agnostic on them than Nelson was.

Nelson, devoted to a restorative justice model rooted in 21st century theory rather than that of previous eras, has promised a reform agenda.

And on civil citations, she is delivering.

Jacksonville City Council candidate Ron Salem scores big in April fundraising

Jacksonville City Council candidate Ron Salem, running to replace termed-out John Crescimbeni in At Large Group 2, had a third straight month of strong fundraising in April for his 2019 race.

The latest number: $20,875 — the third straight month over the $20,000 threshold. The April haul pushes Salem’s total over $78,000.

Among April contributors are names Jacksonville political watchers will know.

Maxing out with $1,000 donations: John Baker; J.B. CoxwellPeter Rummell; local accident lawyer Eddie Farah, and Jacksonville Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa and his wife.

Going $500 deep: Jacksonville lobby group Infinity Global Solutions, Husein Cumber,  Mike Hightower and the political committee of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, “Build Something That Lasts.”

Kim Daniels files for re-election to Florida House

State Rep. Kim Daniels, an iconoclastic Jacksonville Democrat representing House District 14 in Northwest Jacksonville, filed for re-election last week.

Daniels’ filing means that every member of the Duval Delegation has filed for some 2018 office, as Rep. Jay Fant filed to replace termed-out Pam Bondi as Attorney General last week also.

Daniels’ major legislative accomplishment this term was close to her heart, as a Charismatic evangelistic preacher with a global following.

She filed the House version of the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” bill, which cleared the Florida Legislature this session.

Though groups such as the Human Rights Campaign object to the legislation as blurring the lines between church and state, that’s not a position Daniels or the Florida Legislature shares.

Jax Police Union pushes back against body cameras

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is gearing up for a body camera pilot program, even as the local Fraternal Order of Police urges caution to the rank and file.

The issue? Body cameras have not been collectively bargained — in fact, attempts to make them part of collective bargaining by the union earlier this year were squashed.

That led, perhaps inexorably, to a PERC complaint from the FOP.

“The FOP filed an Unfair Labor Practice against the COJ regarding them refusing to collectively bargain the policies and procedures of body worn cameras. We have been in the PERC hearing since 0900 this morning with both sides presenting testimony. Surprised to hear 60 officers have “volunteered” to wear the cameras during a pilot program,” observed FOP head Steve Zona Tuesday on Facebook.

“Even JSO admitted during this hearing you could face discipline up to and including termination for incidents and violations of policy arising out of the use of the BWC. DO NOT volunteer until we are able to negotiate these terms. Consider this my friendly advice as I would take no pleasure in telling you ‘I told you so’,” Zona added.

Back in January, the union wanted “body worn cameras” to be subject to collective bargaining — a position that accords with that of the national Fraternal Order of Police.

“You need to understand, that’s for both — police and corrections,” local FOP Head Steve Zona said, reiterating a position taken in a previous bargaining session, in which the union said there was something else that needed to be put on the table.

Elsewhere, police unions have asked for compensation for wearing body cameras, which the sheriff’s office wants to begin rolling out in pilot form later this year.

Unions have been known to sue to secure their rights regarding body cameras.

The city was not ready to move forward on this discussion point in January, leading to the current unfair labor practice claim now

Jon Heymann retires from Jacksonville Children’s Commission

Jacksonville Children’s Commission CEO Jon Heymann submitted a letter of retirement to the JCC Board last week.

The letter, also sent to members of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry‘s senior staff, says that Heymann retires with “mixed emotions” but that the JCC is ready for “new leadership.”

“The decision to step away is among the most difficult decisions I have made in my 35+year career of serving children,” Heymann noted.

Heymann’s retirement will be effective at the end of August, the letter said.

“I am confident that I leave JCC healthy in every respect – programs, staff and finances,” Heymann writes.

“However, I believe that JCC is ready for new leadership, new vision, new energy and new ideas. I know the future of the organization will be bright, and this great work will carry on into the future to fulfill our collective vision — that all Jacksonville’s children will be educated, safe and healthy,” Heymann adds.

JP Morgan Chase commits $400K to NW Jax eco dev

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that JP Morgan Chase will commit $400,000 to projects in Northwest Jacksonville.

“This grant will make a significant impact in our city and we look forward to working with community leaders to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” said Chamber Chair Darnell Smith.

“Grants will provide entrepreneurship education, access to capital, and façade improvements for New Town small businesses,” reads a Chamber press release.

Of the $400,000, the Jax Chamber Foundation gets the lion’s share: $325,000.

That money will expand entrepreneurship education for NW Jacksonville small businesses.

The other $75,000 will go to Accion, which will offer microloans to area businesses.

“Florida is one of the most entrepreneurial states in the country but faces one of the biggest challenges to accessing credit. Accion’s expansion in neighborhoods in Central and Northern Florida is critical to meeting the capital needs of small business owners statewide,” said Paul Quintero, CEO of Accion in Florida.

Lenny Curry PAC spent $122K in April

April was a big month for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, as he was making the final sale of his pension reform to the Jacksonville City Council.

To that end, his political committee [“Build Something That Lasts”] spent big: $122,000.

Of that money, $100,000 went on ad buys — which facilitated an effective television ad that drove people to call the Jacksonville City Council and show support.

The ad worked: pension reform passed without a no vote.

Curry secured $55,000 of donations in April, with Tom PetwayMichael Munz and John Rood giving.

The committee has roughly $230,000 cash on hand, and with Curry staying put in Jacksonville after withdrawing from the CFO search, he will have time to replenish the coffers.

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