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Foreclosure auction Thursday for Jax Councilor’s BBQ sauce plant

From sauce to loss, the story continues.

Thursday sees a foreclosure auction of the former Jerome Brown BBQ sauce plant in Northwest Jacksonville.

There is an interesting gap between the assessed value of the plant ($958,700) and the final judgement amount ($2,795,533.89).

CoWealth LLC, one of Councilwoman Katrina Brown‘s family’s shell companies, entered into an economic development deal with the city of Jacksonville, with a Small Business Administration loan helping the Browns secure the warehouse on Commonwealth Ave.

The cheerless space, an older building in one of Jacksonville’s more economically distressed areas, was intended to be a job creator for the neighborhood — 56 jobs were to be created, and the idea was that Jerome Brown BBQ sauce would be a national success story.

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Alas, it didn’t quite go down like that, and now everyone is suing the Browns’ companies for whatever they can get

CoWealth originally borrowed $2.65 million from Biz Capital, via the SBA loan, in addition to $380,000 of loans from the city of Jacksonville and $220,000 of grants, for the sauce plant.

However, after five years plus, the plant created exactly zero permanent jobs, 56 jobs short of the 56 job goal.

And now everyone wants their money.

The city of Jacksonville is suing the companies for $220,000 in clawback money for failure to satisfy the agreement; however, Biz Capital will get paid first, as Jacksonville is subordinate to the primary creditor.

Despite the failure of the BBQ sauce plant and the legal morass described over and over again on our site, the fortunes of the companies’ title manager have only gotten more favorable.

Brown is a first-term Jacksonville City Councilwoman who will spend her second straight year ensconced on the Finance Committee, in which capacity she evaluates economic development deals that, in all likelihood, will work out better in terms of tangible goals than the BBQ sauce swamp in which millions of dollars of incentive money was sunk this decade.

Brown, who drives a Porsche SUV, had shown up recently at the Jacksonville City Council for an Ethics Meeting, at which point we attempted to ask her the status of this case.

“I continue to tell you no comment. You can ask me a thousand times and I would still say no comment,” Brown said.

This sad story goes unremarked on the record by anyone in City Hall, as they like Brown and are too polite to offer criticism.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. 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 a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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