LeAnna Cumber blasts ‘corrupt’ JEA committee investigation as Chair helms Daniel Davis fundraiser

Cumber Diamond
The Chair of the JEA investigative committee has a fundraiser for Cumber's opponent this week.

The Jacksonville mayoral race continues to be characterized by GOP intraparty acrimony, with the latest charges around a so-called “corrupt” investigation.

Jacksonville City Council member LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber took to Twitter to condemn her Republican colleague Rory Diamond, who chaired the first meeting of a special committee investigating discrepancies in her disclosure regarding JEA sale efforts.

Cumber called attention to a fundraiser for her opponent in the mayoral race, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Chair Daniel Davis, which Diamond is hosting with Jacksonville Beach City Councilman Cory Nichols and lobbyist/attorney Steve Diebenow.

The same Rory Diamond who led a taxpayer-funded ‘investigation’ into my family this morning was working elected officials for a Daniel Davis fundraiser tomorrow. If this isn’t a corrupt misuse of taxpayer funds aimed at trying to win a campaign, please tell me what is,” Cumber contended, regarding a so-called “meet and greet” for former and current Beaches elected officials.

Diamond defended the event despite Cumber’s qualms about the timing.

“I agreed to do an event for Daniel Davis months ago before I was to leave on military duty. I’ve been open about supporting Daniel Davis for Mayor. The only person misleading and stonewalling is Councilwoman Cumber. Again, I wish she would just come clean with the people of Jacksonville,” Diamond texted in response to our ask for comment.

The JEA special committee will meet one more time in February, after an organizational meeting Wednesday morning established its narrow charge (issues with Cumber’s failure to disclose her husband, Husein’s, liaison with JEA Public Power Partners to the first incarnation of the JEA Special Investigative Committee.).

JEA PPP explored managing the utility while under public ownership. Ultimately, Husein did not work with JEA PPP, but the Council member’s disclosure elided any mention of that exploration.

Wednesday’s meeting saw even members of the committee worried about optics.

Former Council President Sam Newby worried the perception was that this panel was “political” and a “witch hunt.”

“We are in political season,” said Newby. “Let’s be honest.”

Committee member Michael Boylan questioned the “process,” the “optics,” and the committee’s “authority,” meanwhile, saying he was “very concerned” and wondered if “this was a can of worms we want to open.”

Boylan expressed similar qualms during a public notice meeting Wednesday, in which other Council members not appointed to the select committee also carped.

“If there’s any question as to a Councilperson’s behavior this is not the right mechanism,” said Randy DeFoor, who has endorsed Cumber’s campaign.

“I just have to call it out. But for the mayor’s race, would this committee have been called together? And I don’t believe it would have been,” Matt Carlucci said.

All of these Council members are Republicans, an indication of how the battle between insiders Cumber and Davis has spotlighted divides among establishment GOP politicians navigating what will soon be the post-Lenny Curry era in City Hall.

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


  • Dilly Pantinakis

    February 9, 2023 at 7:16 am

    This whole city is a swamp of corruption. Vote the establishment out.

  • VLSC Alumni

    February 9, 2023 at 10:08 am

    Word at the Beaches is that turnout for this will be a low due to Cory and Rory’s relative unpopularity as well as all of the controversy surrounding the event.

    Several current an former Beaches electeds have received multiple calls from the hosts as well as the Davis campaign and they all coincidently have “prior commitments”.

  • BakeRpuppets

    February 9, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    This is like watching the return of the Charlie Crist (s) Sequel 2 (Lenny is the 1st sequel).

    Rory you’ve repeatedly demonstrated you are a wanna be R who is so malleable and will never be elected for the Congressional seat you are aiming for with your new “military service.” Pretty sure you wholeheartedly approve of Steve’s ugly 6 story storage facility across from BB’s Restaurant in San Marco, in plain view of the beautiful condos down there on the river and inside the “protected” city overlay. Since you like idea of this development so much, why not bring this eyesore monstrosity to the square in Atlantic Beach where you can see it more often? This district does NOT want it.

  • Shar2298

    February 10, 2023 at 11:10 am

    Rory Diamond has no shame. Back in 2020 he voted AGAINST a nearly 100 homes development in the middle of Pumpkin Hill Preserve and he spoke about why – it’s on video. Now 2023, the same has reared its ugly head again and this time he votes in favor. The ONLY difference is this time the landowner is represented by Diamond’s high-powered attorney friend, Paul Harden. Over 50 people spoke against it including Timucuan Parks and St. Johns Riverkeeper. The potential residents will be subjected to prescribed burns right up to their property line with heavy smoke and ash and possible glowing embers surrounding their homes. It’s a safety/health issue and he doesn’t care. And then the ecological harm to the preserve will be ongoing and irreversible. All those millions from the taxpayers of Jacksonville will be wasted.

  • It’s that simple

    February 10, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    So the “preserve” is apparently not preserved?

    It you want more of these establishment hillbillies ruining the city and developing irreplaceable pieces of land in Jacksonville vote for Davis.

    If you want a leader who can work with the council and represent the people of Jacksonville without burning the house down when you disagree- vote for Cumber.

Comments are closed.


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