Councilman leading JEA investigation tells utility ‘cease the destruction’ of all records

Councilman Rory Diamond sent a memo to JEA officials Friday

Councilmember Rory Diamond (News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Rory Diamond, a Jacksonville City Councilman and former federal prosecutor who is leading an investigation into JEA, issued a memo Friday that calls for all employees at the city-owned utility to “cease the destruction” of records.

The memo is addressed to Interim CEO Melissa Dykes and other senior leaders at JEA.

“As you are aware, there are a number of ongoing investigations of JEA,” Diamond wrote in the memo. “Therefore, you are advised to immediately cease the destruction, purging, or removal of any and all records, whatsoever, in the possession, custody or control of JEA, JEA employees, and any third-party agents such as vendors and consultants,” Diamond wrote.

News4Jax asked Diamond about the timing of the memo and if there is any concern that JEA leadership might be deleting records.

“I want to make sure that everyone at JEA knows that destroying records related to the sale is unacceptable and a violation of the Public Records Law. Having been put on notice, I don’t expect anyone will accept ignorance of their duty as an excuse,” Diamond responded in a text message to News4Jax.

Diamond said JEA should maintain “reasonable means of access to data and store it in a manner that does not substantially reduce or obstruct access” and “preserve any and all text messages regarding JEA business.”

Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson announced Monday that Diamond will be the chairman of a special City Council committee being formed to investigate JEA.

Diamond’s meeting with JEA last month was credited as one of the reasons JEA’s board dismissed CEO Aaron Zahn just before Christmas. Diamond told News4Jax he wants City Council to investigate the city-owned utility -- even while a federal investigation is ongoing -- because a City Council investigation will all be out in the open. He said the council committee’s goal will be to answer the question of who knew what was going on and when as it relates to the proposed sale of JEA and a controversial bonus plan that has now been canceled.

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