Councilwoman's family a no-show in court

City suing to recover $210,000 grant given to Katrina Brown's family

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, WJXT Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City Councilwoman Katrina Brown and her family failed to show Thursday up at a hearing in the city of Jacksonville's lawsuit over repayment of a $210,549 grant that was given to the family barbecue business.

Brown's family members are the primary owners of Cowealth LLC, a barbecue sauce company that carries the family's name.

In January, the city said Cowealth did not deliver the jobs promised and demanded repayment of the money within 60 days. The Brown family was due in court to answer why they have not paid the money or to have an attorney respond to court dockets and requests, but no one from the company showed up at the hearing.

The judge ordered the company to have an attorney respond in 30 days.

According to state records, JoAnn Brown is the registered agent of Cowealth LLC, and an officer of the company. Katrina Brown, who was elected in 2015 to represent District 8, is also listed as an officer.

READ: City letter demanding payment | City letter advising grant default

According to the letter, the company agreed to create 56 new jobs on or before April 30, 2016, as part of its agreement for a Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund grant, but failed to do so. The agreement also called for the company to submit annual reports regarding job creation, which the letter states also has not happened. The grant was to help the company launch a manufacturing facility to produce a wide range of products, including Jerome Brown's BBQ Sauce.

Part of that grant money included federal dollars from the Small Business Administration.


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