Councilman asks JEA board to hold off on approving controversial contracts

Diamond: ‘Ensure that the people of Jacksonville pay no more than is absolutely necessary’

WATCH: Councilman Rory Diamond speaks at special committee meeting
WATCH: Councilman Rory Diamond speaks at special committee meeting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Councilman who is leading an investigation into JEA is now asking the Board of Directors not to approve contracts agreed on during the botched process to try and sell the city-owned utility.

That process known as the ITN — Invitation to Negotiate — was started last year.

JEA racked up an estimated $13 million on attorney and other fees in the bid to sell the utility. Councilman Roy Diamond called the spending “reckless” and said he believes the city should get at least some of that money back.

Over the weekend the Florida Times-Union reported that JEA staff circumvented the rules for issuing those contracts, so Diamond has now written JEA and asked for them not to approve payment for those contracts.

“I don’t think the people of Jacksonville should have to pay for these contracts for the failed ITN process," Diamond told News4Jax. "What happened here is at the JEA executives were circumventing our procurement rules. And I wanna know if those vendors participated in that and if they did we can get our money back.”

According to the Times Union, a JEA executive and an Office of General Counsel attorney approved no-bid contracts worth millions of dollars to outside consulting firms without going through the proper channels.

The JEA Awards Committee is set to meet on Thursday and ratify three contracts with McKinsey & Company, FTI Consulting and Leidos. Diamond wrote the JEA Board of Directors on Monday and asked them to hold off on ratification until the JEA Special Investigatory Committee can review what happened.

A JEA spokeswoman said JEA has received a copy of the letter sent by Councilman Diamond to members of the JEA board and in the process of reviewing the letter and the Councilman’s request.

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