‘They didn’t lobby me’: JEA sale scheme darkens Lenny Curry’s doorstep
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry speaks, with former administrator Sam Mousa looking on.

Lenny Curry Sam Mousa
Mayor says his hands are clean.

Though advocacy for selling JEA wavered at times from Jacksonville’s Mayor before he let the dream die, allies of his were close to the effort.

But the Mayor said Monday neither they nor anyone else lobbied him on the sale of the utility.

The Florida Times-Union was first to report documentation of a connection between one prominent bidder and two members of Lenny Curry‘s inner circle.

NextEra, the parent of Florida Power & Light, confirmed that it had employed former Curry administrator Sam Mousa and Curry campaign consultant Tim Baker.

(Baker had also offered counsel to JEA, the T-U reported. However, Baker noted that he did not work on the sales process or the strategic future of JEA or any issue for FPL, and that he terminated his deal with FPL “more than a month” before the formal invitation to negotiate.)

On Monday, Curry addressed the news, saying “the important thing” is that neither Mousa nor Baker nor anyone else lobbied him or his administration.

“Consultants were representing some of the bidders,” Curry said, including “consultants that maybe worked on my campaign, other people’s campaigns.”

“None of these people lobbied me,” Curry added, saying “they were engaged by private companies.”

Perhaps to deflect or perhaps because of coincidence, Curry alluded, twice, to two consultants involved in the sale push who were outside of his sphere: former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, of Rogers Towers; and Chris Hand, former chief of staff for one-term Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.

FPL was perceived by many as a natural front-runner in the process, and had it gone forward, Baker and Mousa would have been useful advocates.

While many prominent lobbyists and former politicos were involved in sale proceedings one way or another, Mousa and Baker are notable because they comprise part of Curry’s innermost political circle.

The Mayor, who had called a Monday evening press conference to address the latest stage in Jacksonville’s seemingly-perpetual reopening, was charged with addressing this JEA mess, likewise seemingly-perpetual since key backer Tom Petway suggested privatization nearly three years ago.

Curry had once argued that selling the utility could make the city debt-free throughout the so-called “invitation to negotiate” process.

However, a performance unit plan that would have enriched the C-Suite at public expense showed that the only parties guaranteed to be debt-free made over six figures per year.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


2 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    May 18, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Looting Lenny lies!

  • Frankie M.

    May 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I guess we’ll have to take lyin lenny at his word. This guy must have serious ostrich in the sand syndrome. Or he’s corrupt. Either way it’s not a good look for a guy who isn’t concerned about the appearance of impropriety. For God’s sake Mousa is on the city payroll and your talkin shop with Baker at a baseball game! What happened to the party of personal accountability? Did it leave when Trump got elected or before? Smh…at least Wilson is keeping his social distancing by getting the hell out. Ronnie Fusell is termed out & Wilson smells an escape hatch. Except dude wants a special election for his hand picked successor. Funny how those special elections were too expensive when it came to dcps students?? Do a followup on that AG. I double dog dare you.

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