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Ethics complaint charges Jacksonville City Councilmember with unregistered lobbying

Is it lobbying? Should he have registered?

A Jacksonville resident has filed an ethics complaint accusing a City Councilman with unregistered lobbying.

The complaint, filed last week, to the city’s ethics commission is conveniently timed, as the Councilmember is in the middle of an election campaign against the former chairwoman of the Duval Democrats.

Republican Terrance Freeman, appointed in 2018 to the Council, lobbied future members months before his appointment on behalf of Ygrene Energy.

Though not registered as a lobbyist, Freeman contacted Councilmen Jim Love and Scott Wilson on behalf of the company.

Wilson is the current Council Vice President and has enough pledges to become President later this spring.

The Councilman is not listed on the city’s lobbyist page as ever having registered to lobby the city.

Emails obtained by Florida Politics outline the pitch made by Freeman.

“I am requesting to meet with Councilman Love for 30 minutes regarding PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). My supervisor will be in Jacksonville on the 15th of June and I was wondering if he was taking meetings that mid-morning? If no times are available on the 15th can you check the 18th or 19th as well,” Freeman wrote to Love’s assistant.

Freeman wrote a similar email to Wilson’s assistant.

Freeman, a former Council assistant to current Council President Aaron Bowman, knew how the building worked and was well-positioned to make a case to those he formerly worked with, but in a different capacity.

Freeman was appointed to fill in for suspended Democrat Reggie Brown by Gov. Rick Scott in 2018.

A spokesperson said “liberal lobbyist Lisa King and her failing campaign are lunching desperate last minute attacks using a paid Democrat operative to push baseless nonsense to distract from her own decades of lobbying. Voters deserve better than Lisa King’s failed record of serving herself at taxpayer expense.”

Complainant Ali Samiian has worked as field staff for another Democratic candidate, Sunny Gettinger. Gettinger and King have canvassed together ahead of the runoff election.

This is a developing story. 

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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