IS JUSTICE BLIND IN JACKSONVILLE?
If Justice is blind in Jacksonville, why is the media always highlighting U.S.
Representative Corrine Brown, State Representative Reggie Fullwood, Council
Persons Katrina Brown and Reginald Brown? Lady Justice wears a blindfold
representing objectivity, with no concern for favor, regardless to money, fame,
power or identity and impartiality. However, it is prosecutorial discretion that
cast African American elected officials deep into the web of the Justice System.
The clearest example of prosecutorial discretion occurred when a Whistle Blower
made a complaint through the JAA Ethnics Hotline December 5, 2015. This
complaint “alleges that Mr. Cugno received currency from a former JAA Board
Member Ernie Isaac to bypass the screening and reporting while traveling to Las
Vegas an about four occasions during 2015”, as recorded on Jacksonville Office of
Inspector General Correspondence Number: 2016 – 12 – 0003. This is a violation
of CFR 1544.201. Jim Piggot of News 4 Jax reported April 27, 2018 “second in
command Jacksonville International Airport… COO Tony Cugno admitted to
bypassing security to allow board member Ernie Isaac to carry unscreened bag
onto a flight was investigated by the Inspector General`s Office and Homeland
Security, but the U.S. attorney`s office declined to prosecute. While Isaac was
replaced as a board member shortly after Mayor Curry took office in 2015 …
Cugno is still COO. Among his responsibilities is security at Jax …Don Green, the
union representative for airport police said … there has to be some
Kerri Stewart Mayor Curry`s past Chief of Staff was conveniently moved to JEA
this year with a salary increase, did not make the front pages of newspapers and
she also escaped the web of the Justice System. Despite the fact of a Council
Audit Report discovered Stewart improperly lobbying for $ 98,000 which grew to
$953,000 over a few years. Stewart`s actions for some strange reasons missed an
Inspector General Investigation and legal prosecution. Congresswoman Brown,
State Rep Reggie Fullwood, Council Persons Katrina Brown and Reginald Brown
were not so lucky. Justice should be inclusive and equitable comparing past and
A few years back William Sweet a Black city official “helped himself to taxpayer`s
money, creating dummy businesses and forged documents to steal at least $
95,000 “. He was charged with “12 counts of grand theft, who pleaded guilty to
two and – over the objections of prosecutors - never spent a day in prison”.
Sweet is now serving 10 years of probation. Impartiality was the central issue in
Sweet`s situation and it speaks volumes about “White Collar Crime “in
Jacksonville. The media during the time of Sweet`s trial was covering case after
case involving river front scandals. Why is it persons who look like Kerri Stewart
and Tony Cugno continuously escape the web of the Justice System? Why it is tax
payers always absorb the cost of shady and questionable business practices
without ever facing any criminal prosecution? Why do they escape the bright
glare of media coverage?
The dollar amounts involved in these questionable business practices classify
some as whales in the sea of White Collar Crime, who swim away escaping
criminal prosecution. William Sweet was a minnow in the sea of White Collar
Crime compared to Stewart and Cugno. Crime is crime, but it appears that Lady
Justice sometimes moves her blindfold to take a look to see who is committing
crimes in Jacksonville. The Judge in Sweet`s case must have agreed with these
legal disparities, because Sweet sentence was probation instead jail.
Folio`s Editor in her March 16 – 22, 2016 article “ Down and Dirty Contracts” cited
the immediate need for a comprehensive review of business practices to ensure
impartiality. Justice is not blind in Jacksonville, but prosecutorial discretion is the
key factor that tilt the scales of justice toward some and ignore others.
Dr. Juan P. Gray, Very Concerned Citizen