Alvin Brown lambasted in Jax Council Committee

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During discussion of housing bond issues, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown was taken to task by the Recreation, Community Development, Public Health and Safety Committee.

The issue, as it was in Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, was Brown’s decision to circumvent the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority by authorizing irregular financing for Global Ministries Foundation properties.

“In over a decade that I have been doing this, I only know of two instances where this happened,” Laura Stagner, finance director of the JHFA, said.

Committee member Matt Schellenberg called Brown’s arrangement a “dirty” deal. Stagner spoke, very emotionally, about how Brown’s process gave money to a company with shaky financing that had only proposed putting $3,000 per unit into rehab at complexes like Eureka Garden and Cleveland Arms, which “were built around the time [she] was born.”

Though some local media have downplayed the former mayor’s unique role in helping the beleaguered and scandal-ridden Global Ministries Foundation become the gift that keeps on giving for Jacksonville assignment editors, it’s clear irregularities in the process nettled more members of Council than not.

A statement from Brown on Oct. 22, which seemed to surface in response to media inquiry into the potential connection between Brown’s inaction and his extraordinary interest in ensuring the deal went down to facilitate Global Ministries’ acquisition of these and other properties, skirted around these issues, instead advancing the narrative that the process was clean and met with no public objection.

“When this agreement was created in 2012, it was privy to a formal process, including a public hearing and the advice of city staff and attorneys. No objections regarding this project were ever brought to my attention. I encourage Global Ministries Foundation to finish the job it told this community it would do,” Brown said.

Since that statement was released, Brown has offered no further public comment on what has turned out to be a major scandal of his administration.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]



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