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City Of Jacksonville Sues Council Member Katrina Brown Over BBQ Sauce Plant

Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union (background photo)
City of Jacksonville (foreground photo)
Jacksonville City Councilwoman Katrina Brown is pictured in the foreground. In the background is the Jerome Brown Barbecue Sauce plant, which is at the center of a lawsuit.

The city of Jacksonville is suing City Council member Katrina Brown for $346,000 that a barbecue sauce manufacturing business co-owned by Brown still owes the city, according to a suit filed this month in state court.

The suit, reported by our Florida Times-Union news partner, contends Brown is legally accountable for paying off a loan the city gave to Cowealth, a business co-owned by Brown and her mother, for a barbecue sauce plant that failed to produce any of the 56 jobs it pledged to create in exchange for city assistance.

Brown could not be reached for comment Monday, the Times-Union reported.

Brown won election in 2015 to the District 8 seat in a campaign that touted her business savvy in connection with securing financing for the Jerome Brown Barbecue Sauce plant. As she heads toward a re-election bid in 2019, she already has drawn six challengers. The failed sauce plant has put her in the unusual position of being a sitting council member who faces a lawsuit for failing to pay a city loan.

The city, which retained the Burr & Forman law firm to file the suit, said in an April 24 letter sent to Brown that loan documents from 2012 list her as a guarantor of the loan, so that obligates her to pay the $346,000 that is still owed after Cowealth defaulted on the loan in January 2017.

After Brown did not make payments in response to that letter, the city deemed her in default of the guaranty payment obligation and filed the lawsuit on May 11.

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