ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – A prominent Northeast Florida businessman and well-known political donor has died.
According to multiple sources, Kent Stermon was found dead in his car at the Mayport Post Office in Atlantic Beach on Thursday night. He was 50 years old.
Police said foul play is not suspected in the death.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Stermon was the subject of an “active investigation” that started a few weeks before his death.
“This investigation remains ongoing at this time and will continue until its completion. As with all active investigations, there is limited information available to release at this time. However, as soon as this investigation has been completed, all applicable information will be available for release to the public,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a statement to News4JAX.
According to four News4JAX sources, the investigation into Stermon involved sexual misconduct allegations.
Florida Politics reported that Stermon had also been dealing with health issues and had suffered a stroke on Monday.
Former State Representative Travis Cummings told News4JAX he and Stermon were college roommates and close friends.
“My family and the NE Florida community are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Kent Stermon. I would ask that everyone have Christie and Abbie in their thoughts and prayers, while respecting their privacy. I don’t think Kent’s contributions to our community, our first responders and to those in need will ever be fully known or realized,” Cummings wrote in a statement to News4JAX.
Stermon served as a board member on Florida’s State University System. According to the board website, Stermon was president of Total Military Management and also served on the Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council and was chair of the Governor’s Public Safety Transition Advisory Committee.
A long-time friend to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Mayor Lenny Curry, Stermon was a well-connected political consultant for the Duval County GOP.
Sheriff Waters sent well wishes to the Stermon family.
“My condolences go out to the Stermon family during their time of loss. Without a doubt, their grief is going to be overwhelming, and my heart goes out to them,” Waters said.
DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, sent News4JAX a statement.
“The Governor and First Lady were shocked and saddened to hear of Kent’s passing, and their prayers (and our entire office’s prayers) are with his family during this difficult time,” the statement reads.
JSO said the incident involving his death is being investigated by the Atlantic Beach Police Department.
In 2015, Stermon was named Citizen of the Year by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney said Stermon has other interests outside of politics.
“For Kent, two of his biggest priorities were higher education in students and law enforcement, also very strong and close relationships with law enforcement in North Florida particularly former sheriff Mike Williams,” Mullaney said. “He certainly never ran for office so you wouldn’t see him that way, he wasn’t on television and he wasn’t in the media but behind the scenes, he was very, very active.”
News4JAX has reached out to the Duval GOP and other local leaders for comment.
Stermon leaves behind his wife and teenage daughter.