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Mayor Alvin Brown

Mayor Alvin Brown raises $19,000 in January; PAC adds another $77,000

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

After two months of raising no money toward his re-election, Mayor Alvin Brown raised more than $19,000 in cash contributions in January.

He brought in another $77,000 through a political action committee registered with the state.

Despite the rebound, the month wasn’t without controversy.

In the closing days, Brown’s re-election team led by Hamilton Consulting sent out at least two emails soliciting for last-minute donations — the problem arose when city employees, including City Council members, were on that list.

Florida law prohibits the solicitation of political contributions in a government-owned building and, by extension, to city email addresses, said Jerry Holland, supervisor of elections. Violations are punishable with a first-degree misdemeanor and subject to fines by the Florida Elections Commission.

Of Brown’s 48 monetary contributions, 36 came within the final two days of the month when those emails were sent.

Council member Bill Bishop questioned why he received the emails and why such solicitations were sent throughout City Hall.

“I thought, ‘How the heck am I getting this?’ I didn’t support Alvin Brown in the election,” said Bishop, a Republican.

Council member Don Redman, also a Republican, said he was “surprised” to receive the emails.

A city spokeswoman at the time said “absolutely not” when asked if such emails were being sent to city addresses, but said Monday the response was to whether the mayor’s office was sending them.

David Beattie, Hamilton Consulting president, said the email list goes back to when Brown first ran for office and sending the emails to city addresses was unintentional. He said the campaign “will absolutely” heed the advice of the state and review the email list to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Since October, candidates have been required to file monthly campaign financial reports. Brown raised no money in November and December.

In January, he raised just more than $19,000 in cash contributions and another $13,000 worth of in-kind contributions.

Another $77,550 was raised through the “Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level” committee registered with the state. Among the contributors was the Pajcic & Pajcic law firm ($25,000), Eunice Williams ($15,000), Republic Services ($10,000) and Toney Sleiman ($5,000).

Brown is the only high-profile entrant in the mayor’s race, scheduled to conclude in May 2015.

dchapman@baileypub.com

@writerchapman

(904) 356-2466

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