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Recent Public Corruption Cases Could Tarnish Jacksonville’s Reputation

Ryan Benk
Councilman Reggie Brown (sunglasses, left) and his lawyer Alan Ceballos (right)

In the last two years, four elected officials from Jacksonville have been indicted on federal charges of fraud.

After council members Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown went before a judge last week, reporter David Bauerlein, with our Florida Times-Union news partner, set out to see how the city’s reputation may be affected by such crimes.

Last year, both state Rep. Reggie Fullwood and Congresswoman Corrine Brown were found guilty of fraud.

Bauerlein said the recent indictments are just the tip of the River City’s history of public corruption.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the consolidation of city/county government and at the time, obviously there’s always resistance to such a big change in government structure, but the advocates of it were able to really tap into this public disgust, anger about a wave of indictments that were hitting 11 elected officials — dozens and dozens of indictments,” he said. “So, there was this idea that this would be a way to kind of clean up government.”

He said a number of former and current local politicians told him they’re worried about the city is perceived as corrupt and that could hurt its bottom line.