Company owned councilwoman's parents files for bankruptcy

By Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A family business tied to Jacksonville city Councilwoman Katrina Brown has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the I-TEAM learned Tuesday.

KJB Specialties Inc., a company that does business as Jerome Brown Barbeque and Wings, submitted the filing Monday. Jerome Brown is the father of the councilwoman, and the company's president, Joann Brown, is Katrina Brown's mother.

According to the filing, KJB Specialties has between $100,001 and $500,000 in estimated assets and having between $1 million and $10 million in estimated liabilities.

The largest creditor listed in the filing is BizCapital Bidco I LLC, of New Orleans, which is owed more than $2.7 million.  BizCapital filed to foreclose on KJB Specialties and another Brown family business, CoWealth LLC, in February. That company operates a barbecue sauce manufacturing plant on Commonwealth Avenue.

The city of Jacksonville is also listed as a creditor in the filing, owed more than $210,000. In February, the city sued CoWealth LLC for that amount of money, calling on the company to repay a city grant. CoWealth LLC was ordered to repay the grant because the terms of the grant -- a guarantee of new jobs -- had not been fulfilled.

In the bankruptcy filing, KJB Specialties said has more than $243,000 in assets. The majority of that comes from the value of the company's Edgewood Avenue restaurant property, listed at $124,049. Other assets include three vehicles, bank accounts and personal property.

The filing also lists three legal actions against KJB Specialties: the foreclosure case filed by BizCapital, a foreclosure suit filed by Florida Capital Bank, and a lawsuit over-indebtedness filed by Ameris Bank. All three lawsuits are listed as pending.

FBI agents were at the family's barbecue sauce manufacturing plant on Commonwealth Avenue in December, and could be seen taking out boxes and other evidence.  Agents would not say what they were investigating.

Katrina Brown did not attend a scheduled City Council committee meeting Tuesday morning. News4Jax has left a message at her office requesting a comment on the bankruptcy.

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