72ºF

Curry responds to city subpoena in JEA investigation

NextEra says firms run by those with ties to mayor consulted on plan to buy utility

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday responded to the latest information released on the investigation into the scuttled attempt to sell JEA.

New documents released Friday show one of the companies interested in buying the utility was using lobbyists and strategists with strong ties to Curry. NextEra, which is the parent company of Florida Power & Light, handed over the information after getting a subpoena from a special Jacksonville City Council committee investigating the negotiations.

One name on a list from FPL is Mousa Consulting Group. Sam Mousa was the mayor’s former chief administrative officer. He retired from the city last year before he was hired as a consultant for NextEra. Also on the list of those who worked on the negotiations was Bold City Strategic Partners, run by Tim Baker. The mayor’s current chief administrative officer, Brian Hughes, had worked for that company but left years before the sales talks began.

There are other names on FPL’s list, including the law firm Rogers Towers, which includes former Mayor John Delaney; Right Coast Strategies, led by Susie Wiles, a local political consultant who worked on President Donald Trump’s Florida campaign; Paul Harden, a lobbyist for many Jacksonville companies who is no stranger to local politics; and Marty Fiorentino’s the Fiorentino Group. Fiorentino is married to News4Jax anchor Mary Baer. He also worked on Curry’s first campaign as his finance chairman.

On Monday evening, Curry said at no time did any of those involved talk about a pending sale to FPL or any other company to him.

“It’s important again to note that, again, a former mayor, a former chief of staff under another administration, a number of consultants that worked on campaigns across the spectrum, they’re private businesses and they were hired. But the important thing is they didn’t lobby me or my office on this issue,” Curry said.

The mayor’s office has said numerous times in the past that it was not pushing for a sale of JEA, only looking at options for the public utility.

The special City Council committee investigating JEA is due to meet Tuesday, May 26. This week, former interim JEA CEO Melissa Dykes will give a deposition on her role, if any, into the sale plan.

The federal investigation also continues, but that is not public. A federal grand jury has also issued a subpoena for records related to the attempted sale of the city-owned utility.


About the Authors: