Councilman Gaffney defends $500K in federal funds received by his nonprofit

Councilman Reggie Gaffney during a Monday press conference. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville city councilman who has come under fire for accepting nearly half a million dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money from the council to help run his not-for-profit organization spoke publicly for the first time Monday about the controversy.

Councilman Reggie Gaffney is president of the Community Rehabilitation Center, a nonprofit that offers mental health services and other community outreach programs.

As part of the federal relief program, the council approved around $500,000 to go to his agency. The possibility was first reported by the Florida Times-Union.

Some of that money could be used to pay staff, but Gaffney said not a penny will end up in his pocket, adding that he’s had the same salary for years.

“It’s not an attack on me and CRC, it’s an attack on those people who live down there and they don’t have anybody else to turn to except for an agency like me who wants to make sure they can live a better life. I think God has protected us for 30 years and we will continue to do what we do,” Gaffney said.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, legislation will be introduced to scrutinize not-for-profit organizations that have city council member connections.

Council members are also expected to take a second look at $4.5 million in COVID-19 grant money that is being divided up among council members for use on some of their pet projects. Some of those projects are coming under fire as well.

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.