Jacksonville trying to collect councilwoman's unpaid debt

City Council suing Katrina Brown over failed BBQ sauce business

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville is still trying to collect a business loan given to Councilwoman Katrina Brown, whose family business was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 2016.

Millions of dollars were lent from various sources to the Brown family to open and operate Jerome Brown BBQ Sauce. The business never lived up to the promise of creating 56 new jobs in exchange for the city loan and closed down after going bankrupt. 

On Tuesday, the Jacksonville City Council met -- one day after a lawsuit was filed trying to collect over $346,000 from Brown's family company. Brown was at the meeting and told News4Jax she could not go into details about what is happening with the lawsuit, but did talk about what impact it might have on her being reelected into her district.

"If you look at my record, I have filed some great legislation. I have been very consistent with my voice representing people in District 8," Brown said. "I will continue to work hard for the people."

Six people have already filed to run against Brown in next spring's city elections. News4Jax Political Analyst Rick Mullaney believes the lawsuit will play a role in the race.

The city lawsuit against Brown is being handled by an outside law firm because there would be a conflict for city lawyers to be involved. Attorneys could not comment because of pending litigation.

In addition, the Small Business Administration is trying to collect a $2.6 million loan it gave the failed company. Since the SBA's litigation was filed, the building that once housed the business was sold at a foreclosure auction.

The city is exploring the option of garnishing Brown's City Council wages. She earns $49,000 annually.

The City Council said no plans are in the works to issue a statement or reprimand against Brown.

About the Authors: