JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Federal agents paid a visit to former Jacksonville City Council candidate Mincy Pollock on Tuesday, but the man tied to U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and questionable Virginia charity refused to talk to them, the I-TEAM learned.
Also Tuesday, Siottis Jackson, a man who has some connections to the Justice Department of Justice investigation of Brown, also visited Pollock's office on Tuesday.
Pollock's former boss, the Rev. Anthony Beeks, showed the I-TEAM checks he turned over to the FBI that Pollock had signed and deposited in the account of One Door for Education, the Virginia charity whose president is awaiting sentencing on charges of fraud.
"He never told us nothing," Beeks said of Pollock. "He just said, 'We asked him why did he write them. He said it's at the bottom of the check,' meaning the memo section. In the memo section of the check, it said he paid him a consulting fee."
Beeks used to run First-Coast Multi-Lines Insurance, where Pollock worked after last year's failed bid for a Mandarin City Council seat.
Beeks said federal agents came to his home and asked him about Pollock and his relationship with Brown. It was after that meeting that he went through his books and found the problems.
"I know one thing, the federal government don't play when it comes down to telling the truth," Beeks said.
An attorney who said he was on retainer for Pollock said visits by federal agents and the I-TEAM on Tuesday were concerning and "the whole thing is a mess."
“It’s true the feds were there," attorney Noel Lawrence said. "I would counsel my client to not make any statement. Especially with Jackson under federal subpoena, I’m very wary.”
According to media reports, Jackson was with Brown at a restaurant in January when sources say she was served a federal subpoena.
Lawrence said Pollock declined to meet with the federal agents because, “They came when he (Pollock) was not available.”
When the I-TEAM visited Tuesday, a front desk receptionist who reached Pollock by phone explained he was “busy enrolling a client” and would return calls later.
Instead of Pollock, Lawrence called and said he planned to meet with Pollock later Tuesday.
Follow the money
Included in the copies of checks Beeks provided to the FBI, was one Florida Blue wrote to First Coast Multi-lines Agency LLC for $25,000 on Nov. 24, 2015. Then, on Nov. 30, 2015 Beeks provided a deposit slip that showed Pollock made a deposit of $25,000 into the agency’s account, but took $2,500 of it in cash. On Dec. 1, 2015, two checks from First Coast Multi-Lines Agency were written to Siottis Jackson and signed by Pollock. One was for $7,850 and the other for $3,000. According to the memo line, both were written for “consulting."
The I-TEAM also obtained two checks written by Pollock to “Open Door" -- the Virginia based charity for which Congresswoman Brown raised money and whose founder pleaded guilty to fraud. One was for $5,000 and the other for $3,000. Both checks were also written out of the First Coast Multi-Lines Agency LLC, and the memo line on both checks was written as “foundation donation.”
Beeks told the I-TEAM he checked with SunTrust Bank and was told the Open Door checks were deposited into an account registered to One Door for Education. Beeks said he had no knowledge of the transfer of monies and when he discovered it, he immediately alerted the FBI.
"Two checks being written for $10,000, being broken up in two checks, $3,000 and $7,850. That threw up a flag right there," Beeks said, "And you cashed it at two different Sun Trust banks."
Beeks said another red flag was Pollock's check to Jackson including "consulting" in the memo line.
"I never would have thought that Corrine Brown and Siottis Jackson would be mixed up in the checks from our business, because we never do business with them," Beeks said.
As for the checks obtained by the I-TEAM, Lawrence characterized those as a “domestic dispute” between Beeks and Pollock, his former employee.
One Door for Education Foundation's director, Carla Wiley, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and pleaded guilty. In the plea agreement, federal prosecutors say One Door was never a properly registered 501(c)(3) with the IRS. It also outlines how $800,000 was used to benefit Person A, a public figure, and Person B, who works for Person A. Previous I-TEAM reports found reason to believe that Person A is Brown.
On Tuesday, prosecutors asked to push back Wiley's sentencing from June to December because she was still cooperating with prosecutors.
Lawrence also confirmed to the I-TEAM that he is assisting Brown in her legal challenge to the state’s redistricting changes, which changed her congressional district from a north-south configuration to an east-west configuration, stretching between Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Florida Blue released the following statement to News4Jax Tuesday:
"Florida Blue’s relationship with its agents is critical to the company’s success in both the individual and group health insurance markets. In support of these important business partners, for more than a decade Florida Blue has offered funding for marketing and community support programs to help agents grow their businesses, improve recognition within their geographic regions, and strengthen ties with key leaders in their communities. We find new agents who are influential in key metropolitan markets, such as First Coast Multi-Line Agency (FCMA), and provide needed support for these efforts.
The agents have discretion in how they use the funding they receive from Florida Blue to best fit their agency and market to their community. More seasoned agents with established businesses may choose direct marketing or regional advertising to enhance awareness of their agencies, while newer agents with fledgling or smaller businesses may choose to support issues or causes that offer positive exposure and improve their community ties. FCMA is a newer agency.
We originally supported the agency with $5,000, which was used by Mincy Pollock, the licensed agent we worked with, for marketing purposes. Over time, based on Mr. Pollock’s actions and performance, we felt the agency’s efforts justified the additional $25,000 investment in the community it serves to grow its business.
Regarding the benefits to Florida Blue, the agency performed admirably in its first year with Florida Blue as indicated by its strong sales of our products in the community it serves. Enrollment increased significantly in the community served by FCMA.
Florida Blue's conduct is beyond reproach, and we are not involved in this apparent internal disagreement between the FCMA parties."