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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 26, 201802:54 PM EST

Lawsuit challenging Freeman's appointment to City Council dismissed

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Freeman was appointed in July following the suspension of council member Reginald Brown, who was indicted on federal fraud charges in May.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Duval County Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace III has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s appointment of Terrance Freeman to serve City Council District 10.

Freeman was appointed in July following the suspension of council member Reginald Brown, who was indicted on federal fraud charges in May. Council member Katrina Brown also was indicted and suspended. They are not related.

The legal challenge brought by attorney and District 10 resident Brenda Priestly Jackson said Scott’s appointment was not valid because Freeman did not live in the district at the time of his appointment July 10.

The Jacksonville City Charter requires council members to reside in their districts for the duration of their terms.

Freeman was sworn in to council July 12, at which time he had leased a home in District 10.

While Jackson argued that his term began the day he was appointed, Wallace ruled her argument was not valid.

Wallace concluded that Freeman assumed his position the day he was sworn in and that Scott’s appointment announcement does not hold the same legal weight as taking an oath of office.

Freeman lived in the Mandarin area when he applied for the position over the summer. He has since moved his family to District 10.

Reginald Brown and Katrina Brown are facing dozens of federal fraud charges tied to a failed barbecue sauce plant owned and operated by Katrina Brown’s family. Federal investigators allege the pair conceived a scheme to defraud a federal loan program, participated in money laundering and, in the case of Reginald Brown, failed to file tax returns.

Their suspensions are indefinite through the end of their terms in 2019. Only the state Legislature can permanently remove them from office.

Ju’Coby Pittman was appointed to Katrina Brown’s District 8 seat.

If Freeman and Pittman want to remain in office, they would have to run for election next year.

 

 

 

 

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