Council members gather ahead of planned special meeting on attempted JEA sale

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City Council members Brenda Priestly Jackson and Randy Defoor attended a meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the change, work and legislative recommendations results from the Special Investigatory Committee on JEA matters.

The gathering comes ahead of a special meeting called for Wednesday of the Jacksonville City Council’s JEA Investigative Committee. Council President Terrance Freeman said a week ago he’d be reopening the committee on the attempted sale of JEA after emails and text messages that contradict statements by sitting Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber recently surfaced.

Cumber is a Republican currently running to become Jacksonville’s next mayor. She and one of her opponents, Republican Daniel Davis, have been firing shots at each other in campaign ads, pointing fingers at their role in the saga surrounding the attempted sale of the utility.

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The committee will meet Wednesday to determine if Cumber withheld information about her role and her husband’s role in that attempted sale.

Some members on Council who support Davis want to see this investigation, while others claim Council is just getting caught in the middle of a political game.

Jackson and DeFoor called the meeting to basically explain that, suggesting the meeting Wednesday is taking the wrong approach. They headed up the original Special Investigatory Committee, which concluded more than two years ago.

In a nutshell, they don’t believe Council members should be investigating other Council members. They’re also concerned that the two members who made a complaint, Rory Diamond and Nick Howland, are leading the committee.

Council member Joyce Morgan, a Democrat, attended the Tuesday afternoon meeting.

“The most difficult part of this for me was that after allegations were lodged against one of our colleagues, the two people that lodged the allegations, that did not seem like that was the proper thing to do, and it did not seem that that would produce a fair and impartial outcome,” Morgan said.

Councilman Aaron Bowman sent a statement to Bowman that News4JAX obtained Tuesday night. It reads:

The committee meeting Wednesday is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. News4JAX plans to be there. Cumber has said she will not attend.

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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.