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Duval Democrats dispute Lenny Curry camp commercial claim

The war of words regarding the first Alvin Brown commercial of his r-eelection campaign continued yesterday with a press release from the Curry campaign that made new claims that the “He Cut His Own Pay” spot was dishonest.

The second press release from Team Curry specifically took issue with the involvement of local developer and Jacksonville Landing magnate Toney Sleiman in the ads, something reported on first on this site yesterday.

Brown has been a proponent of Landing redevelopment, and of using city funds to spur along the redevelopment of the beleaguered commercial space — a position that has been controversial locally.

Concerning what the release called “straight lines between Alvin Brown, taxpayer dollars, and campaign advertising,” Lenny Curry spokesman Brian Hughes claimed that Sleiman’s appearance in the ad was due to Landing largesse.

“First we get a dishonest commercial that lies about tax hikes and touts cuts to public safety, now we see that Alvin Brown is happy to use taxpayer dollars to fund his political machine. Throwing money, nearly $12 million, at special interests while kids are being gunned down in the street because of fewer cops is not simply outrageous it’s disgusting.”

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The Curry press release cited a local media report that summarized the specific Brown/Sleiman redevelopment plan.

“Topping his list is $11.8 million for redevelopment of the Landing, the two-story mall built on city-owned land in 1987. Brown and Toney Sleiman, a co-owner of the Landing, want to tear down the mall and build anew on the site.”

The Duval County Democratic Party had a response to these claims.

“Over the past three years, Mayor Brown has garnered broad bipartisan support as a result of his fierce first-term focus on economic development and downtown revitalization,” wrote James Poindexter in an exclusive email to this reporter.

“The suggestion that this bipartisan business support is based on anything other than the mayor’s focus on job creation is not only unfounded, it is a sign that Lenny Curry fundamentally misunderstands the important issues facing our city and lacks the vision necessary to lead it.”

“Alvin Brown campaigned on the promise that he would put our city before politics, and that promise has been kept.”

Regarding the Sleiman connection, the Duval Democratic secretary offered this statement.

“Mr. Sleiman, a well-known Republican business owner in Jacksonville, was not a supporter of Alvin Brown in 2011, but supports the mayor’s re-election as a result of Mayor Brown’s record of fiscal responsibility and bipartisan leadership.”

“Any suggestion by the Curry campaign that Sleiman predicated his support on anything else is patently false and a distraction from the real issues in this campaign: growing Jacksonville’s economy and closing the opportunity gap.”

Written By

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 AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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