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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Mar. 8, 202211:40 AM EST

Former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn’s attorneys say he is innocent

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Under federal indictment for fraud and conspiracy, Zahn is scheduled for arraignment and a bond hearing March 8.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Indicted former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn’s defense attorneys emailed a statement March 7.

“Mr. Zahn affirms his innocence, denies any wrongdoing and is eager to present his case to a jury,” the email states.

Zahn, facing federal charges of fraud and conspiracy in the proposed sale of JEA to the private sector in 2019, is represented by A. Brian Albritton of Phelps Dunbar and Edward Suarez of The Suarez Law Firm, both in Tampa.

“Mr. Zahn has a lengthy and accomplished public record in the Jacksonville community as a father, husband, and business leader. This public record includes his acceptance of the role of CEO of JEA to serve as a change agent by bringing his extensive private business experience and know-how to JEA and develop innovative ways to improve the utility for the benefit of the community and its ratepayers.

“He challenged the stagnant conventional thinking that permeated JEA and looked for cost-effective and innovative ways, commonly used in private businesses, to diversify revenues and retain the talented employees of JEA. Throughout this process, JEA engaged well-regarded lawyers, consultants, and financial advisors to craft and vet both the lawfulness and ethics of employing these innovative ideas in a government setting,” the email states.

The attorneys also state that Zahn is confident that when the jury is presented with all the evidence, he will be vindicated.

Zahn is scheduled for arraignment and a bond hearing at 2:30 p.m. March 8 at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse in Jacksonville.

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