Nassau names interim county attorney, debates next steps
Image via Wes Wolfe.

220316 county attorney shuffle
The former county attorney abruptly resigned at midnight following allegations.

A lot can change in 24 hours. Former Nassau County Attorney Mike Mullin entered into an agreement with the local state attorney, announced Tuesday, to resign by the end of the month because of suspected illegal actions on Mullin’s part regarding public records.

By 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Mullin was no longer the county attorney.

County officials are waiting to see what’s next.

“As this is new information, and it may have ongoing litigation involving the county, no further statement’s advised at this time,” Assistant County Attorney Denise May said at the outset of Wednesday’s meeting of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, before commissioners made her the interim county attorney.

Mullin formerly worked for Rayonier and was key in its strategy regarding what has become the Wildlight development. Rayonier sued Mullin and Nassau County, accusing him of working for the county specifically to take advantage of his inside knowledge of the project. The fight over public records related to the suit resulted in another lawsuit.

Toward the end of the meeting, County Manager Taco Pope pointed out that with Mullin gone, the county needed to appoint an interim county attorney — suggesting May — until commissioners could agree on a permanent replacement. Commissioner John Martin made the motion and it passed unanimously. May had no comment on her interim appointment.

“Congratulations to Ms. May,” Martin said. “I know this isn’t how you wanted to get in this position, but I congratulate you anyway.”

Assistant County Manager Marshall Eyerman asked the board as to how they wanted to go about finding a new county attorney, which led to roughly 10 minutes of commissioners discussing May’s future employment in front of her and the public.

She began working for the county in August 2021.

“We just searched for an assistant county attorney — correct me if I’m wrong, Ms. May, but there were two or three searches that occurred,” Martin said. “It was very difficult to find someone who was qualified to do well. Ms. May was hired because she was one of the few who was qualified to do this job, and I think she’d done an excellent job as assistant county attorney since she’s been here.

“It was always my understanding that, but for recent circumstances with Mr. Mullin, the intention was succession. Ms. May was hired with the intention of, when Mr. Mullin retired … that she was being groomed to be the next county attorney.”

He suggested she stay as interim only as long as it took to work out a contract to take over permanently, but further discussion among commissioners led to a general agreement to delay any decision until the full board could gather. Only four commissioners met Wednesday, raising the problem of possible 2-2 votes and the additional issues those may cause.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


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