jacksonville, florida – The Special Commission of Inquiry on JEA Matters is proposing a new law aimed at compelling city councilors to comply with the investigation.
This was after City Council Speaker Terrence Freeman reinstated the policy. The commission will investigate the connection between the JEA’s cancellation of the sale and City Councilman Rihanna Cumber.
“Well, we’ve uncovered issues that could suggest that there was defrauding of Congress,” said Nick Howland, deputy chairman of the task force.
In March 2021, the city was soliciting bids for a potential sale of JEA. LeAnna Cumber told her JEA Public Power Partners that she sees no conflict with the JEA or her invitation to negotiate.
Related: City Council to reopen JEA commission to investigate whether Rep. Rianna Cumber misled council investigators | Lianna Cumber’s Attorney Says Mayor Lenny Curry Was Behind ‘Fabricated Controversy’ Over JEA Deal | JEA Commission Targeting City Council Members, Cumber Mayoral Candidates Speaks About “Finding Out The Truth”| JEA council committee investigating Cumber mayoral candidate seeks input from FBI
Mr Cumber’s husband, Hussein Cumber, was not on the board when the JEA voted to consider privatization and resigned after being elected in 2019.
He was an unpaid advisor to a company that was interested in buying the JEA, but the JEA did not hire him because his wife held a board position.
Ms. Cumber chose not to reveal that her husband was working as an FBI informant at the time.
“We were unable to answer that question. Moreover, the JEA sale never went through, so that question would have been very difficult to answer. The emphasis was on whether there was,” Howland said.
The Task Force was charged with three action items:
To investigate whether the Commission has been deceived or misled by Rep. Cumber of JEA Public Power Partners by responding to a subpoena or by disclosing information
determine whether Mr. Cumber attempted to use his official position to influence an invitation to the negotiation process for personal gain
In the event of such deception, we will propose legislation that will not hinder the work of future Commissions of Inquiry.
“Is there an element in the ordinance that mentions a duty to respond to an investigation? Nor is the city council explicitly mentioned as a compliant body within the city government. We’re going to change it so that the city council is specifically called out in that law,” Howland said.
Cumber was running for mayor at the time, running against Daniel Davis, and during the campaign he claimed it was a politically damaging job.
At one point, the Ethics Committee decided not to investigate the allegations, citing them as overdue and of a political nature.
“They chose not to investigate. So we proposed a bill, the special commission’s third indictment, to focus on making sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” said Howland.
The ethics committee sent a letter to SIC on Tuesday saying it would change the council rules to provide a more clearly defined process for council committees and the council itself should the need arise in the future. He said he supported the Office’s recommendations.investigations or investigations into the conduct of city council members;
It also recommended amending the law to propose a clear deadline for filing complaints during the election period.
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https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/06/14/new-law-would-force-city-council-members-to-comply-with-investigations/ New law forces city councilors to follow investigation