Tens of thousands of dollars in football tickets highlight Donna Deegan gift disclosures

Donna Deegan Jaguars image via Deegan twitter
Form 9 reports tell the story.

Jacksonville’s stadium renovation proposal is expected to be unveiled this month, and state records show Mayor Donna Deegan and other city employees spent plenty of time at the unrenovated facility in 2023.

Form 9 reports filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics in December 2023 and March 2024 reveal more than $37,500 through the Mayor’s Office in tickets and suite usage, parking passes and food for Jaguars games last season and the Georgia-Florida neutral site contest held in October of last year.

These forms cover gifts over $100.

It’s not unusual for public officials to get tickets and other comped items at Jaguars games and other events in taxpayer-funded facilities, but the Form 9s reveal the aggregate value of these perks is considerable, over the course of just six months in office.

The money was nearly evenly split, at least in the official accounting, between the pro slate and the college showcase.

Of the $18,436.05 in gifts from the City of Jacksonville to the Mayor’s Office for Jaguars games, included were six $140 tickets for an Aug. 26 preseason game, along with three parking passes at $35 each, and $1,165.10 in food at that contest, which would come out to nearly $200 per attendee if the accounting is accurate.

The biggest tranche of Jaguars related gifts was 96 season tickets for games on Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 19, Dec. 4, Dec. 17 and Dec. 31. At $140 each, that comes out to $13,440.

An additional $840 went on 24 $35 parking passes for each of those seven home dates, suggesting parking was either a very reasonable $5 per game per person or that the Form 9 number needed to be multiplied by seven. It’s unclear why the Mayor’s Office chose the amount of parking passes it did for distribution.

Food was procured for the first two September games, according to Form 9 filings. The home opener had $1,147.03 spent, while the game Sept. 24 held costs down to $898.92. A city spokesperson didn’t know why there was no itemization for the rest of the schedule, but suggested the other games saw similar costs.

Meanwhile, the biggest single-day splash wasn’t even for a Jags’ game.

The most recent Form 9, filed on March 28, solely addressed the $19.068.96 spent on 24 suite tickets at $709.17 each (for a total of $17,020.08), $1,808 in food ($75.37 a person), and three parking passes at $80 each for the Florida-Georgia game.

We asked Deegan’s Office questions on Monday about these gifts, including who attended the games; why 96 tickets were needed for Jaguars games along with 24 suite spots for the Florida-Georgia contest; where the money came from; if city employees fraternized with Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan or other team officials; and if taxpayers should worry about the perception these gifts could be seen as inducement to support a stadium deal of which some informed parties say Jacksonville may pay 65%.

Spokesperson Phil Perry said there was no connection between the tickets and other perks and the stadium process, noting correctly that the Deegan administration didn’t begin the practice, which is funded historically by the Sports and Entertainment budget.

“The city’s negotiators are working with the Jaguars to reach agreement on a fair stadium renovation deal. Access to game tickets that the city pays for is completely separate and has nothing to do with the negotiation process. These tickets have been part of the current stadium lease agreement for (at least 30) years across administrations and well before the stadium renovation was even under consideration,” Perry said.

Perry also said that to the administration’s knowledge, “no city employees have watched a game in the Jags suite as they did not have access to it.”

Meanwhile, regarding the 96 season tickets, Perry notes that despite the presence of the perks on Deegan’s form, the Legislative Branch also benefited.

“These tickets are mix of suite and club access that are part of the current stadium lease agreement and have been for many years. Attendees included staff and guests of the Mayor’s Office and City Council, as well as city employees who requested tickets,” Perry said.

While questions about disclosures linger, meanwhile, the big one is really about how much taxpayers will have to spend on the stadium renovation.

The Jaguars and the Shad Khan vehicle “Iguana Investments” previously envisioned a total investment that could cost as much as $2.068 billion, a number that could include stadium improvements costing between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, as well as between $550 and $668 million for development of a “sports district,” an option supposedly off the table.

Jacksonville was proposed to foot the bill for two-thirds of the cost of stadium improvements in the original term sheet. Perry notes that no additional city tickets or suites are envisioned in the stadium deal, which will “preserve the status quo on that front.”

Regarding the negotiations themselves, Deegan says to expect a formal proposal in early May. The City Council will vet the proposal on an extraordinary 60-day cycle, with informational sessions expected to be held around Duval County before legislators vote on the appropriation.

She hasn’t been shy about saying the goal is to get a deal done.

“‘I think that, frankly, we both really want to get to yes,” she said in June of last year, before taking office.

Beyond football-related activities, the department gift registry includes some more picayune gifts, including congratulatory flowers after her inauguration from interim Duval County School Superintendent Diana Kriznar, clothing and swag from JAXPORT, Jacksonville University, and Edward Waters University, along with note cards and magnets and other nominally valuable items from various well-wishers. The 37 items have a declared value of $1,350.

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


35 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 7, 2024 at 7:06 am

    I wonder if she would accept a gift of PGA teams returning to her golf courses due to being purchased by a Saudi Arabia that inexplicably just became interested in golf? Oh probably not. She doesn’t have any golf courses.

  • Taylor Swiff

    May 7, 2024 at 8:51 am

    This story reveals why politicians will never, not ever, do anything about the ticketbots that drastically increase aftermarket ticket prices.

    Face value: $230
    Disclosure: $230
    Market value: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Why fix a ticketing system that isn’t broken when you look at it the way politicians look at it?

  • Nah

    May 7, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    No mayor or city council member wants to be the one to stand up to Con and demand to stop robbing tax payers for private profit. They enjoy the perks too much on taxpayer dime. The current mayor is no different than any other run of the mill grifter politician with empty promises and can’t do math. This one promised to be mayor for everyone but it looks like the same bought and paid for and toxic party dynamic to me. Only in it for themselves like it’s a party all for them and their buddies. I know the article said it’s business as usual but maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

    • Robin J Harvey

      May 11, 2024 at 12:04 pm

      I totally agree, since Kahn has own the jags,he has destroyed jacksonville.

  • V. Gutierrez

    May 7, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    How does this compare to the last Republican administration? I’m sure they got plenty of perks when they were in office especially when it came to trying to sell JEA or attend sports events. The only difference is one party reported what they received, while the other party didn’t. . 🤔🤦🏻‍♀️😄

    • Civicduty

      May 7, 2024 at 6:00 pm

      All spending is documented. Try using the Google machine instead of playing the “what about” game.

      • Pit Shoster

        May 7, 2024 at 9:36 pm

        I looked it up, as you said. Turns out, this is a normal thing that’s been happening for the past 30 years, regardless of administration. Thanks!

  • Rob

    May 7, 2024 at 2:30 pm

    This just isn’t a story. Quit trying to manufacture controversy with an ethical mayor and administration.

    • President Kidsniffer

      May 7, 2024 at 9:26 pm

      What ethical mayor? Jacksonville doesn’t have an ethical mayor.
      Screwing someone other than your husband while in the backseat of a car parked in public is not what normal people would call “ethical”.

    • Tina

      May 8, 2024 at 12:34 pm

      Ethical? She’s far from being ethical.

      • rick whitaker

        May 8, 2024 at 10:53 pm

        TINA, how christian of you to be so judgmental.

  • Lawrence Wilson

    May 7, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    Should be fired, she has no clue how to run anything…

    • rick whitaker

      May 8, 2024 at 10:54 pm

      LAWERENCE, but you do know how to run things, right?

  • C.o.d.

    May 7, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    There is no difference from status quo politics in the current administration. Just self referential crony behavior, favoring buddies and playing party politics and covering up the truth about the city’s drunken spending all for developers while leaving taxpayers and neighborhoods to rot. Won’t stand up to billionaires robbing the city taxpayers for private profit because too much in it for them personally. City council and mayors office is morally compromised when it comes to the stadium. They will condemn taxpayers to generations worth of unpayable debt and a broken city all while partying on the taxpayer dime. Using pretty words to cover up bad behavior does not make you better or different. Try congratulating yourself less and find a calculator.

  • Joseph Orlando

    May 7, 2024 at 3:39 pm

    How can she be Catholic and be a Democrat?

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 7, 2024 at 4:51 pm

      The same way as President Biden, probably.

    • rick whitaker

      May 7, 2024 at 7:03 pm

      JOSEPH, how can a christian vote for trump?

      • Jay

        May 7, 2024 at 8:48 pm

        Exactly

      • President Kidsniffer

        May 7, 2024 at 9:29 pm

        Trump is exactly the type of man that God commonly chose to do His work. Try reading your Bible.

        • rick whitaker

          May 7, 2024 at 9:46 pm

          PRESIDENT KIDSNIFFER, i don’t have a bible. i don’t read boring fiction. all of my friends don’t believe in god. so you and your friends are welcome to think trump is not a crook, rapist, and draft-dodger. if christians are for him, we are against him. president kidsniffer, who is that, raygun or nixon?

          • Tina

            May 8, 2024 at 12:38 pm

            Poor Rick 😢 did Trump hurt your feelings?

          • rick whitaker

            May 8, 2024 at 10:51 pm

            TINA, trump hurt the feelings of the hundreds of kids that he ordered to be ripped away from their parents , many never to be re-joined. did you forget? you must be a christian.

  • Ash Adams

    May 7, 2024 at 5:16 pm

    Well if she was a Republican no one would care it’s only because she’s a Dem . Just for gods sake lock Trump up and let’s start to heal !

    • Civicduty

      May 7, 2024 at 6:02 pm

      Careful. Your TDS symptoms are showing. If you’re going to cry at least be consistent.

    • Jay

      May 7, 2024 at 8:50 pm

      I hope they do lock him up. It’s about time.

      • President Kidsniffer

        May 7, 2024 at 9:31 pm

        Well, maybe you can talk him into actually doing something that he could be locked up for. Good luck with that!

  • Chris Selm

    May 7, 2024 at 5:20 pm

    Meanwhile I work my A$$ off and can’t afford tickets to ONE Jags game.
    Much less $1000 worth of food at said game.
    This sh– is utterly disgusting.

  • Seber Newsome III

    May 7, 2024 at 5:23 pm

    she is a crook, one term mayor

    • President Kidsniffer

      May 7, 2024 at 9:31 pm

      As if we didn’t all know she was a crook before the election…

    • Tina

      May 8, 2024 at 12:42 pm

      She sure is a straight up crook. She’s another Gilium.

  • Hypocrisy in action

    May 7, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    Both the mayor’s administration and city council are morally compromised when dealing with Jaguars and putting taxpayers on the hook to pay billionaires for private profit all while boogieing like it’s 1999. Making it a done deal and closed process to boot. They will further bankrupt the city and they just don’t care. This is a bad look all around and it doesn’t matter which party it is. This mayor’s office and city council don’t look any better. Business as usual in Jax.

  • Johneqst

    May 7, 2024 at 8:31 pm

    Same ol crap. Different mayor. Nothing in Jacksonville will change for the better except for the people at the TOP

  • Lee

    May 9, 2024 at 7:11 am

    And what do you want us to do with this information? Who cares?

  • susieq

    May 10, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    I’m pretty unhappy about this new stadium and how much it is going to cost the average taxpayer. While there are many who can afford to be season ticket holders or go the games here, many of us cannot – yet we are going to have to pay for it. I understand that people in “leadership” get a lot of freebies. And I’m happy for them. But they aren’t the average citizen. Not everyone in Jacksonville is happy about this new stadium and feel as if they don’t have a voice to be heard why it’s not beneficial to everyone and why this shouldn’t happen.

  • Mjd

    May 10, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    DUUUUUUUUUUVAAAALLLL!!!

Comments are closed.


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