The war of words between a City Council member and a former Jaguars player over a Northwest Jacksonville community center has drawn the attention of the state attorney.
Standing next to Tony Boselli Thursday, State Attorney Harry Shorstein said he backs the former football star and his efforts to run the Simon Johnson Community Center.
Boselli and Councilwoman E. Denise Lee have been at odds over the once-dilapidated recreation center that Boselli's charitable foundation helped renovate and reopen.
Boselli's foundation planned to run the center, but at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, backers of Lee spoke to the council and complained that they were left out of the renovation process and asked the council not to give Boselli a lease to the recreation center.
However, Lee has questioned Boselli's involvement.
Shorstein said Boselli has taken a positive approach where he says most people would just accept things for what they are.
"Tony Boselli has boldly stepped forward and unambiguously said, 'No, it does not always have to be this way, and yes we can make this a better community for our children,'" Shorstein said in a news conference Thursday.
City councilwoman Glorious Johnson was also on hand. She said she hopes the recreation center debate does not turn into a racial issue, adding she has heard only support for Boselli and the organization.
Boselli has made his position clear.
"It's not about the money. It's not about me having my name up there. It is a community center ... it just happens to be a community center that's nicer than any other one in this city," Boselli said.
However, while Lee had plenty to say at the last City Council meeting on the issue of Boselli and the community center, outside of council chambers Lee has had no comment.
On Thursday afternoon, Channel 4's Jim Piggott went to Lee's house to hear her side of the issue.
Piggott reported seeing Lee standing outside when he pulled up to her home, but as the news crew was getting out the camera, Lee went inside.
When the reporter approached the front the door, a man exited the home and said Lee was not there and was not available.
"I just saw her standing out here ? I'm just going to knock," Piggott said.
"She is not going to say anything. Don't knock. She's not available," the man replied.
"Denise, you don't want to talk to us at all? I mean, she is a City Council person," Piggott said as he knocked on the door.
Channel 4 has not been the only one with questions about Lee's reasoning; the public servant has received a large stack of e-mails at her office. Most of the e-mails were from people questioning her motives behind the Boselli debate.
"Where were you and the rest of council when this building was allowed to become an unused shack?" one resident asked.
"You have had a tough week and I want you to know there are a lot of people praying for you," another e-mail stated.