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After-school funding showdown looms in Jax City Council

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Councilman Garrett Dennis agree that more money is needed for Duval County’s after-school programs.

However, they are on what Dennis called “different pages” regarding how much is needed. A need for resolution looms and will be provided at Council Tuesday night.

And that resolution looks likely to come out of one-time, non-recurring money. This means that Council could be dealing with this mess again in 2018.

In response to an appropriations bill filed last week for $1.071 million additional afterschool program money from the Curry administration, Dennis — chair of the City Council Finance Committee — said Monday that Curry’s allocation isn’t nearly enough.

“With the Mayor’s support, an additional $1.8 million has been identified to expand accessibility of afterschool services to more youth and their families,” Dennis contended Friday, adding that “there remains a need for approximately $1.7 million to fund an additional twenty (20) sites.”

Curry had no comment on Dennis’ position, ahead of a Monday evening public notice meeting held by the Democratic councilman who seems more willing than anyone else on Council to joust with the Republican mayor.

The proposal would see eight more Boys and Girls Club programs funded, in addition to three Communities in Schools locations, and other programs.

All told, Dennis’ itemized list of additional sites encompasses $3.46M of spending, accommodating 2,260 students. Currently accommodated: 5,805 students at a cost of $7.726M.

“As you all know, public school starts next Monday,” Dennis said, noting an “emergency bill” from the mayor is headed to committees Monday, but “we have an opportunity tonight to add additional seats.”

“If we do nothing, we have 5,805 seats,” Dennis said. “We have an opportunity to have 8,000 seats for students in Duval County, which is unprecedented.”

“These seats are all over Duval County, in nine different City Council districts,” Dennis added.

The Council Auditor’s Office noted that some Jacksonville Journey money could be transferred over, amounting to $850,000. And Jacksonville Children’s Commission money could add up to another $238,000. The Mayor’s proposed $1.01M could also be added to the pot.

$1.3M is the total need, Dennis said. And that money could come out of the $97M general fund balance, which would not push the city below its mandated reserve levels.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney wanted more expansive funding, that could “include everybody” that applied, regardless of scoring matrix results.

Councilwoman Katrina Brown noted that this process is unusual, wanting to know why the Jacksonville Children’s Commission forced Council to “scramble” to fund sites at the last minute.

“We in the Council don’t like to be put in this position,” Brown said.

Councilman Sam Newby noted that some programs were funded at a lower seat threshold than agreed, and he wanted them to be made whole.

“The decision’s going to be made tomorrow whether we do something or nothing,” Dennis said.

Councilman Reggie Brown noted that, as with the summer camp funding issues earlier this year, fewer children were served because the per pupil outlay increased. Brown wanted to ensure that there were no geographic “gaps” in service areas.

Brown took issue with KIPP schools getting 500 students, a number that dwarfs many other schools on here.

Council President Anna Brosche, who supported Mayor Curry’s initial proposal, expressed a concern regarding the non-recurring nature of these funds.

“We’re creating a situation …this funding that we come up with is not in next year’s budget. We’re creating a challenge to solve a problem now that isn’t in the budget that we’re addressing,” Brosche said.

“If you get funded this year,” asked Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, “what would you do next year?”

Councilwoman Lori Boyer talked to us as she left the meeting, concurring that this is one-time money.

“I think that’s the Council President’s point. Even if these funds could be cobbled together from various sources,” Boyer said, “it’s only for this year.”

Boyer also noted that structural reforms in children’s programs — with the Kids Hope Alliance set to replace the Jacksonville Journey and Jacksonville Children’s Commission — create their own challenges related to forecasting beyond this current allocation.

Journey programs: funded at $4,000 per student per year. JCC programs: $1,600 per student per year.

“Who knows what these [numbers] will look like next year,” Boyer asked, rhetorically.

“It sounds like one-time money. But if you really believe these programs save lives, that they get kids off the street,” Boyer said, then the price is worth it.

Dennis continued to press for spending out of the reserves, but the committee was not sold with the source of money. A modified proposal, not including reserve funds, will likely be provided on Tuesday … hours before Council votes on this emergency measure.

If the proposal goes “all the way,” Brosche noted that it would create $4.8M of obligations this year that are not in next year’s budget — when after-school money is added to the summer camp money allocated earlier this year.

This could, said Councilman Reggie Brown, create “false hopes” going forward.

Did Jacksonville’s Consolidation work? Or is it a work in progress?

Have the promises made when the city of Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County half a century ago been fulfilled?

That’s an open question, and one with a spectrum of answers ranging from “nope” to “things have actually gotten better for most of the city.”

On Tuesday, members of the Jacksonville City Council convened to discuss Consolidation — specifically, the work of the city’s Consolidation Task Force.

However, rather than a holistic discussion, these legislators got into the weeds of structure and potential changes.

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Councilors Bill GullifordGreg AndersonLori BoyerJohn Crescimbeni were in the house, as was the city’s chief administrative officer, Sam Mousa.

Boyer began by correcting the record from a previous Council meeting regarding the work of the Consolidation Task Force not having come to pass; in fact, she said, much of it did, including charter amendments.

However, there is unfinished business — including term limits.

“There were all kinds of scenarios being floated,” Boyer said, without Task Force consensus regarding the three four-year terms in a current bill.

Boyer reviewed the previous work of the task force at some length, which got deep into policy weeds very quickly.

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One such thatch of arbor: a discussion of interlocal agreements with independent agencies and smaller municipalities in the county.

Gulliford noted that there isn’t a master aggregation of interlocal agreements, and wanted a list of them.

“Every time I turn around, there’s a new interlocal agreement popping up,” Gulliford quipped.

Vetoes also came up.

“Currently there is a different standard for overriding line item vetoes than there is any other item,” Boyer said, in advocating a change to need 13 votes to override a budget veto.

Councilman Greg Anderson suggested that the entire “convoluted” veto process needs review, given byzantine wording.

Boyer agreed that there could be review, vis a vis timing.

Zero-based budgeting: also discussed.

Boyer noted that, in the absence of a “strategic plan, you can’t do it because there’s nothing to judge against.”

IT billing cost controls: also a robust topic of discussion. As were functions that have been opted out from central services over the years for a variety of reasons, many of them related to departmental specialization.

“Central services has eroded,” Mousa said.

Gulliford concurred, saying that it was consolidated government itself that eroded.

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There is plenty to do, of course.

One ongoing initiative: a task force to deal with public health issues.

Employee health: another issue to be dealt with. Mousa suggested Mayor Curry may want to deal with that task force.

And changes in health care could be contemplated.

“The county hospital model is becoming a thing of the past in most cities,” Boyer remarked.

The expansion of CPACs – Citizen Planning Advisory Committees — also was up for discussion.

“When we consolidated, we became a big bureaucratic entity,” Boyer said, with CPACs serving an important role to bring localism to the larger government.

While CPACs were helpful in terms of capital improvement suggestions in the most recent budget, there was no consensus as to how their functions could be expanded, or made more uniform.

As well, bringing the discussion back full circle, a discussion of allocating a fixed amount of the capital improvement program budget to the promises made before Consolidation happened.

Boyer noted that would come out of general fund dollars.

“Part of the argument for Consolidation,” Boyer said, was standardizing city services.

“Much of [the work] hasn’t been done.”

 

Bobby Payne draws opposition in HD 19

GOP state Rep. Bobby Payne, whose district encompasses parts of Union, Clay, Bradford, and Putnam Counties, has drawn  both primary and general election opposition in recent days.

Green Cove Springs Republican Boyce Royal filed on July 31 to run against Payne in the GOP primary.

Royal is a real estate agent by trade.

The winner of that primary will go on to face a Libertarian, Ryan Russell Ramsey, in the general election.

Payne, a Palatka native, has just under $23,000 on hand after a $6,500 July comprised of donations from Jacksonville’s power elite — Peter Rummell, the Fiorentino Group, Jacksonville Kennel Club, and so on.

Expect that war chest to grow.

Payne, despite being a rookie legislator, will be a tough out; he has a strong working relationship with Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings of the Clay Delegation, and with Gov. Rick Scott.

In the GOP primary in 2016, Payne faced tough competition in former RPOF Chair Leslie Dougher and Katherine Van Zant, the wife of then incumbent Charles Van Zant.

Payne won his native Putnam with 55 percent of the vote, but he held his own — and then some — elsewhere. He got 47 percent of the vote in Union, 31 percent in Clay (beating out Van Zant), and 35 percent in Bradford, coming within two points of Van Zant … who was up 40 points in Bradford in that poll from the spring.

Corrine Brown’s lawyer: Former congresswoman’s guilt is a ‘myth’

On Monday afternoon, in Jacksonville’s federal courthouse, Corrine Brown came one step closer to learning whether or not she can avoid time in prison.

But she did not get a definitive answer in court.

Convicted of 18 counts in a federal fraud trial regarding “One Door for Education,” a sham educational charity Brown and her cohorts raised money for and extracted money from between 2012 and 2015, Brown has continued to maintain her innocence despite the guilty verdicts and the preponderance of facts supporting them.

Monday saw Brown’s lawyer, James Smith, present motions for a new trial and for acquittal. Judge Timothy Corrigan noted he was not inclined to rule from the bench Monday on those motions, which were presented at great length anyway.

The motion for a new trial was predicated on an interesting concept: Is the Holy Spirit an external force?

Brown posits that the jury was corrupted because a juror was removed for deeply held religious convictions that told him Brown was innocent, and that the Holy Spirit guiding someone does not disqualify that person from jury service.

The acquittal motion was much more quotidian, contending that the government did not prove its case, as some One Door money went toward charity, and there was no hard evidence that Brown conspired to defraud donors.

Ahead of the hearing, we caught up with Rev. Jesse Jackson, who told us why he stands with Brown.

“Corrine delivers,” Jackson said.

We asked Jackson to weigh in on the charges, and he was more circumspect.

“I came as a friend,” Jackson said, “not as a lawyer.”

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Judge Timothy Corrigan noted that typically there is not oral argument on these motions; however, by special request from Brown’s attorney, he granted it.

“My purpose today is to listen to counsel’s arguments,” Corrigan said, noting he was “unlikely to rule from the bench” on these matters.

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Acquittal was the first motion to be considered.

Brown’s attorney contended that there was not “one fundamental piece of evidence” presented in the trial that established Brown’s guilt conclusively, despite the length of the trial.

The conspiracy charge — unproven, beyond the testimony of former chief-of-staff and co-conspirator Ronnie Simmons, Brown’s defense said.

“There may have been an occasional use of the shorthand, ‘One Door Is my charity,'” Brown’s lawyer said. But that didn’t add up to conspiracy.

Brown’s lawyer also contended that there were no claims that the money would “solely be used for scholarships” in pitches to donors.

Regarding the lack of scholarships given out by One Door, Brown’s attorney said “that’s not a crime.” Nor was there a contention that she would give out the scholarships, he said.

Evidence presented, meanwhile, was “circumstantial,” because the government lacked direct evidence of conspiracy.  And as a result, the government’s case rested in “myth”, such as portraying One Door as “Brown’s charity.”

Circumstantial evidence, Brown’s attorney said, led to Brown being convicted via “guilt by association.”

While Brown was associated with One Door and did solicit money and did derive benefit, the defense contends that doesn’t prove criminal intent.

Similar defenestrations of the government’s case on financial disclosures and fictional tax returns followed, with the case boiling down to Brown not being aware of the forms that were submitted over the course of years, as her crowded schedule precluded attention to those matters.

While these forms were “not done in a way befitting a person of her position,” and her financial affairs were a “mess,” that is not evidence of guilt.

The prosecution, via U.S. Attorney Michael Coolican, noted that “we had the facts on our side, and now we have the law on our side as well.”

“The defense is not saying anything different today than it did [during] the proceedings,” Coolican continued, hammering in on repeated instances of “fraudulent omissions” regarding pitches to donors, statements on tax returns, and so on — with Brown’s word being the only evidence to the contrary.

Evidentiary points, such as Brown holding blank checks from One Door, loomed large as evidence of Brown’s involvement.

“She had hijacked the charity, had her chief of staff take control of the finances, and was bleeding it dry,” Coolican said.

Brown’s attorney countered that the elderly Brown was taken advantage of by “thieves in her office,” and the fundraising events promoted by One Door in fact took place — even though the money did not make it to student scholarships.

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The motion for a new trial proceeded much along the same lines, with Brown’s attorney contending that the claim of the booted juror that he was getting insight on Brown’s innocence from “higher beings” did not disrupt the “deliberative process.”

“There was not sufficient evidence in the record to support the court’s conclusion,” the defense attorney said, given that the discharged juror never said he would ignore tangible evidence in favor of guidance from “the Holy Spirit.”

“Simply seeking guidance from a higher power is not a sufficient basis for a juror to be dismissed,” the defense attorney continued.

While Brown’s attorney believes his client got a “fair trial,” on this matter an error was made.

“Ultimately, we believe the court made a mistake here,” he said, because the conclusion was “not supported by facts.”

“Is it proper for a person of faith to be dismissed from a jury … we’re dealing with someone who said that faith motivated and provided guidance on the issues,” the barrister continued.

The upshot of the argument: sending the juror home deprived Brown of her right to a fair trial.

The prosecution, via U.S. Attorney Eric Olsham, countered that the juror said he “was told by his Father in Heaven that the defendant was not guilty on all counts.”

He claimed to have had “received … this mandate from a Higher Power,” and such reception rendered the juror unfit for deliberation.

A “more searching inquiry” was not required in that context, the state contended.

On the matter of the discharged juror, Corrigan noted that the matter today boiled down to “did I do the right thing” or not.

The government noted a preponderance of evidence that he did, based on repeated claims of having “received information” from said Higher Power.

Brown’s attorney was more bearish, saying that no evidence was provided that the juror couldn’t evaluate the case independently of his input from the Christian conception of the supreme deity.

“He was kicked off, and that violated Congresswoman’s right to a fair trial.”

This “mistake,” however, could be “corrected,” the defense attorney said.

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After the hearing, we attempted to get answers as to the status of Brown’s “legal defense trust fund,” which suffered a setback this week when a concert by gospel act Shirley Caesar was cancelled due to “inclement weather.”

We asked about the state of the fund, and about Brown’s ability to pay her attorney; for his part, he didn’t seem concerned about how much of the money owed to him will ever be paid.

As Brown’s supporters yelled messages of acclamation and affirmation behind her, and as Rev. Jesse Jackson stood nearby, Brown was silent.

 

Quiet July on finance front for Paul Renner committees

July was the first month of fundraising for future State House Speaker Paul Renner‘s political committees since he won the honor in late June.

Some observers may have anticipated an avalanche of activity, but in reality the committees had modest contributions and spends.

“Florida Foundation for Liberty,” Renner’s primary committee, brought in just $25,500 in July (spending $20,383 of that), pushing the committee just over $240,000 on hand.

Donations came in from political committees, including the Realtors, Surgi-PAC, and the Florida Credit Union’s political action committee.

The biggest donation: $10,000 from MHK of Volusia County.

Of the over $20,000 spend, $4,000 went to Ballard Consulting, $2,685 went to Renner’s campaign account for reimbursements, $10,000 went to another Renner committee, “Conservatives for Principled Leadership.”

Meanwhile, there were just two external donations, and both were in the Jacksonville metro area.

The committee gave $1,000 to Clay Yarborough‘s campaign, and $2,500 to “A Safe Jacksonville,” the political committee of Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.

The aforementioned “Conservatives for Principled Leadership,” meanwhile, has just under $18,000 on hand after a $12,500 July.

Beyond the $10,000 from Renner’s other committee, the other $2,500 came from the interesting “Florida Prosperity Fund” committee.

Lenny Curry fundraising machine churns on

The JAX Chamber’s JAXBIZ arm hosted a fundraiser as August began for the political committee of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

And if there was any doubt who the Chamber would support in the 2019 Mayoral race, that doubt should have eroded like so much beachfront during a hurricane.

Curry’s “Build Something That Lasts” committee raised over $100,000 at the event, hosted by Darnell SmithDenise WallaceMike Hightower, and the JAXBIZ board of directors.

A name not on the invite that delivered what one insider called a “big effort” was that of Daniel Davis, the Jax Chamber President who one very easily can see as Curry’s eventual replacement in 2023.

Davis, a former state Representative and City Councilman, tweeted out the following: “Looks like JAX Chamber wants to see Mayor re-elected.”

Indeed it does.

Curry’s committee continues the momentum one would expect from a popular incumbent.

July saw Curry’s committee raise $52.5K, and disperse $19,647 — including $5,000 to “Seamless Florida,” the committee of St. Petersburg Republican Mayoral candidate Rick Baker.

The big donor: Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who ponied up $25K.

There was no invoicing of the trip that Curry took on Khan’s private jet for an economic development trip last week to Baltimore, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

That trip explored, among other concepts, development ideas for future development of the area around Jacksonville’s football stadium and other athletic facilities.

Clay Yarborough rakes in $7500 in July for HD 12 re-election bid

Rep. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republican representing State House District 12, hauled in $7,500 in July fundraising.

Among the bigger names from the nine donors: Foley and Lardner and Florida Foundation for Liberty (the committee of future House Speaker Paul Renner).

Yarborough has raised nearly $49,000 this cycle, and has just under $41,000 of that on hand, as he prepares for a general election challenge in the deep red district.

Yarborough is slated to face a general election opponent: Tim Yost, a local college instructor running as a Democrat.

Yost filed for this race in the middle of July, and has raised $2,215, largely from small-dollar donors, with a few bearing the surname of Yost.

Yost had explored a run against Rep. John Rutherford for Congress, and in that race he was running as an independent.

“You and I deserve an independent candidacy because the two party system has failed us. The system has forced us to back politicians who do not have our best interests mind,” Yost wrote earlier this year.

“I have no backing from a party that tells me how to think. Northeast Floridians who live in Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties will have a true representative of their interests not someone who simply presses the button party officials tell them to press,” Yost added.

John Rutherford heads to Israel

U.S. Representative John Rutherford has settled in quickly to his role in Congress and this recess week finds the Jacksonville Republican burnishing his foreign policy chops with a trip to the Middle East.

Per a press release from Rutherford’s office, the congressman leaves for Israel Monday “as part of a delegation of Members of Congress to meet with various leaders in the region including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.”

The delegation will discuss “US relations in the region including economic, military, and security cooperation.”

Rutherford “plans to meet with Nafatali Bennet, the Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs, IDF Soldiers, as well as Israeli military leaders, professors, and business leaders. The group will also tour Israeli military bases, as well as visit historic and holy sites.”

A ‘calling’ drives Celestine Mills to run again for Jacksonville City Council

A Democrat who lost in 2015 to Reggie Brown in the race for the District 10 seat on the Jacksonville City Council District 10 is trying again in 2019.

Celestine Mills filed recently to run for the open seat. Brown is term-limited from running again.

Mills failed to get any donor class traction in her previous run for office, cobbling together less than $4,000 in donations from friends and family.

Running against an entrenched incumbent, she received nearly 19 percent of the vote in the northwest Jacksonville district.

Now, with Brown being termed out, Mills sees an opening.

“It’s time for a new voice,” said Mills … someone who is “visible,” who listens and fosters “cohesiveness” in the Northwest Jacksonville district.

Mills, who said she had a “calling” to run, admitted the race is “not going to be easy.”

When asked to assess incumbent Reggie Brown, who is expected to stay active in politics, Mills was circumspect.

“He’s doing the best he can do,” Mills said.

For Corrine Brown, the sentence has already begun

On Monday afternoon, in Jacksonville’s federal courthouse, Corrine Brown and her supporters and detractors will be one step closer to learning whether or not she can avoid time in prison.

Earlier this year, Brown was found guilty on 18 of 22 counts related to conspiracy to defraud via what prosecutors describe as 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.

All told, over $800,000 was raised from 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.

Despite the tangible proof of conspiracy to defraud and unjust enrichment, and despite the feds generally hammering the overmatched defense throughout the case, Brown filed motions seeking a new trial and for acquittal.

On Monday, there are hearings for both requests.

The motion for a new trial is predicated on an interesting concept: Is the Holy Spirit an external force?

Brown posits that the jury was corrupted because a juror was removed for deeply held religious convictions, and the Holy Spirit guiding someone does not disqualify that person from jury service.

“During deliberations, Juror 13 said the holy spirit had told him that Ms. Brown was not guilty. The Court found that the holy spirit was an external force, and dismissed the juror. After Juror 13 was dismissed, Ms. Brown was found guilty. The Court’s finding that the holy spirit is an external force is not supported by the record … Therefore, justice requires that Ms. Brown be granted a new trial,” the motion reads.

The acquittal motion was much more quotidian, contending that the government did not prove its case, as some One Door money went toward charity, and there was no hard evidence that Brown conspired to defraud donors.

Essentially, it repeated contentions made and rejected by jurors during the course of the trial.

Most observers assume these hearings are just hiccups on the one-way street toward sentencing for Brown.

However, there is a case to be made that the sentence already began for Brown — and that sentence began with the indictment 13 months ago.

Brown, back in July 2016, couldn’t attend a court hearing without political allies by her side. State Sen. Audrey Gibson, state Rep. Kim Daniels, City Councilman Reggie Brown were just a few of those supporting Brown last summer.

Such support became less visible at the hearings and months since, as the optics of photo-ops became less convenient for those whose political futures now needed a different engine than the Corrine Machine.

The ink on the indictment was still drying as Brown limped through the ass-end of her final political campaign.

Brown couldn’t raise money for her race against Al Lawson. She likewise could not raise money for her legal defense. It seemed that all anyone wanted to talk to her about was the federal charges.

The nadir of that campaign: a post-debate press conference in Jacksonville, which devolved quickly into Brown attacking the media — including this correspondent.

“What if I said I thought you was a pedophile? You’d think something was wrong with me.”

Those words, voiced on the debate stage Thursday night at Jacksonville University by incumbent 5th District Rep. Corrine Brown, recurred during that post-debate presser.

“If I said ‘young man, you a pedophile’, that’s a charge,” Brown said to this reporter, by way of attempting to establish that an accusation is not tantamount to conviction, “because somebody makes an accusation against you doesn’t make you guilty.”

Brown suggested the media was “lazy” for not being able to figure out that she wasn’t guilty based simply on her assertions.

However, whether the press corps was just a pack of lazy pedophiles or not, Brown all but said that the game was over for her at that point.

When asked about her anemic $25,000 cash-on-hand in the campaign, and the loss of a third set of lawyers on Thursday, Brown said “yes” that she was having a cash issue.

“It’s a very challenging balance running a campaign and [paying] legal bills,” Brown said.

And indeed it was. Brown lost convincingly, and her post-campaign celebration reportedly included the saddest Electric Slide of all time.

Much like the Electric Slide phenomenon, there was a retro feel about Brown’s cash and carry operation, around which there have always been a series of salacious stories, usually with election hijinks as the setting. The closest anyone came to make those allegations on the record regarded her allegedly pay-to-play Quick Picks tout sheet, in which she endorsed and hit the endorsees up for “printing costs” — a malleable concept, to be sure.

The congresswoman took issue with the idea that her endorsements are controversial, given that the Chamber and the unions offer endorsements. “How am I different? Oh, I know,” she said, laughing ruefully.

“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. People ask me how I’m voting. I’m so excited that it’s a discussion in the community. I’ve printed 50,000 of them,” she said. “It’s like the dog track: a cheat sheet.”

Brown even released 2016 Quick Picks; the story then was that her endorsement of Jacksonville’s pension reform vote was open for negotiation.

In the end, no endorsement. And no comment when asked.

Since the end of her political career, Brown has seen her co-defendant and former chief of staff roll on her, and has seen many of the old friends fade away.

A great indication of her diminished pull: recent fundraising for her legal defense fund. Or lack thereof.

Brown set up a series of fundraisers in recent weeks, with the culmination intended to be a Sunday concert at the 4,250 seat Bethel Baptist Church — Brown’s own church, helmed by a pastor with his own tax issues over the years totalling nearly a million dollars in arrears.

Brown attempted to book Shirley Caesar, whose gigs cost $30,000 each according to one booking agency. Tickets cost up to $100, which included VIP treatment and drinks.

Alas, Brown cancelled the concert — almost as if she couldn’t afford the booking fee.

However, Brown said the culprit was “inclement weather” — an interesting dodge for an indoor event, given the forecast Sunday only includes the “scattered thunderstorms” that are generally expected in Florida in August.

The storm clouds will be over the Federal Courthouse Monday afternoon. However, from the time the indictment dropped on her 13 months ago, Brown has been soaked — day after day — with legacy-killing revelations.

It’s hard to imagine a narrative pivot this late in the game.

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