Donna Deegan aide on hook for business default after ‘excusable neglect’ defense rejected
Garrett Dennis speaks at Valencia Way. Image via A.G. Gancarski

A hearing in March will determine damages owed to the plaintiff from Garrett Dennis' 'Shifting Gears.'

Jacksonville’s director of boards and commissions looks likely to have to pay a subcontractor his business stiffed previously.

Circuit Judge James Daniel signed an order  denying the motion by Shifting Gears, LLC, a company owned by Garrett Dennis, denying the high-ranking Donna Deegan appointee’s case that “excusable neglect” explained his non-payment and non-responsiveness to court motions.

“Defendant’s Motion and the affidavit attached to the Motion fail to demonstrate excusable neglect to set aside the default, and Defendant failed to produce any evidence at the hearing on the Motion to demonstrate excusable neglect. Defendant’s Motion and the affidavit attached to the Motion fail to demonstrate that Defendant has a meritorious defense to the claims asserted in the Complaint, and Defendant failed to produce any evidence at the hearing on the Motion to demonstrate a meritorious defense,” wrote Daniel, a Judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit.

An evidentiary hearing on March 1 will determine the ultimate damages due to plaintiff McCurdy-Walden, Inc., which is owed $80,000 for a reroof of the BCBS building at 532 Riverside Ave.

These aren’t the only financial issues connected with Dennis currently. He has outstanding IRS liens from 2016 through 2021 that total more than $125,000.

These span his years in elected office on the Jacksonville City Council. The 2016, 2017 and 2020 lien notices, totaling $60,135, were prepared and signed in June 2023. The notices for the remaining years were signed a few days before the end of last year.

The Deegan administration is standing by him, saying these issues aren’t relevant to his work for the city.

“It has no impact on his ability to perform the duties of his role with the Mayor’s Office. We won’t be commenting further,” spokesperson Phil Perry said.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Nope

    February 14, 2024 at 4:57 pm

    Deegan administration has developed a credibility issue. Before it was an optics problem. Now it’s more serious. Business as usual for Jacksonville. Good thing they’re negotiating away the city’s future by funding billions in taxpayer paid welfare to a privately owned enterprise by a billionaire with absolutely zero promise of returns. Because Hacksonville.

    • MH/Duuuval

      February 14, 2024 at 10:43 pm

      It’s not a good sign for Deegan & Co. to circle the wagons this soon — the result of the overt hostility of the MAGA Council. Reflexively defending Dennis is short-sighted.

    • MH/Duuuval

      February 16, 2024 at 11:23 pm

      There’s a MAGA supermajority on the Council — in great part due to the at-large seats, which dilute the votes of African Americans and all citizens of modest means.

      Nothing for the Jags will move without MAGA support.

      What the Mayor needs is what the Governor has: line-item veto.

Comments are closed.


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