We asked Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown if he knew about the original notice of default sent by the city’s General Counsel to the Jaguars. Brown would not commit to an answer, saying instead he didn’t want to spread any more misunderstandings.
But, The Florida Times-Union reported Friday that Mayor Brown told them he did know about the letter before it went out. The article says "The default letter that kicked off the contretemps was sent due to a misunderstanding, Brown said, confirming after being asked multiple times that he was aware of the missive before it was sent."
City Council president Steven Joost said he would be shocked if a default letter went out without the mayor's knowledge. Councilman Matt Schellenberg agreed.
"If the administration didn't know it was going out, then shame on them. If they knew it was going out, shame on them that they didn't pick up the phone."
It was the Jaguars original notice about who they selected to maintain the field that sparked the long series of responses. Once Jacksonville General Counsel Cindy Laquidara sent the notice of breach of lease, Jaguars owner Shad Khan responded that he was “shocked” about the letter. This then prompted an apology from the Mayor and a formal withdrawal of the original default notice.
Yesterday, the Mayor sent another letter, this one is aimed at calming Jaguars fans. You can see the full letter below.
We spoke to the Mayor to find out why he felt it was important to send a message to the fans while resolving this conflict.
“What I don’t want people to think is the city doesn’t support the Jaguars. We do,” he says.
So what exactly happened that sparked this spiral? Brown says there was a miscommunication, but it is something his office will closely examine. It’s too early to say if there will be any long term fallout on staff, but Brown says the procedure of filing these letters will absolutely be scrutinized.
“The goal is how do you fix it and move forward,” he says.
While moving forward, Brown says the relationship with the Jaguars is just fine- adding that he called Jaguars owner Shad Khan as soon as Khan’s letter was received and they have spoken a number of times since then.
One of the immediate lessons learned is a small shake-up in staff. Our news partner the Daily Record says Jacksonville’s newly appointed Sports and Entertainment director Alan Verlander will be the city’s “pointman” for dealing with the Jaguars and Khan in the future. Brown says to the Daily Record “He and I will have contact with the Jaguars. I’m going to be dealing with them directly.”
WOKV is reaching out to Mayor Brown to see if they can offer some further clarification. We have been told Khan is out of the country currently, but the Jaguars have nothing further to say at this time.
A full line-up of the letters is available here at WOKV.com.
Here is the letter from Mayor Brown:
Dear Fellow Jaguars Fans:
Reports in the news media yesterday suggested that the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a dispute. That is not the case.
We fully support our Jaguars. The Jaguars are an important part of the fabric that makes up our great city.
Yesterday, I spoke by telephone with Jaguars owner Shad Khan. We will work closely together to move the City and the team to the next level of success. Mr. Khan and I will continue to talk and meet regularly so that we can make sure that the City and the Jaguars are always on the same page when it comes to making our community a better place. We are very fortunate to have Mr. Khan as the team owner. I am excited about his plans for the team and his desire to help our city. The City wants the team to enjoy huge success, since the team’s success will help to power Jacksonville’s success.
The Jaguars are our team!
With Jaguars training camp starting in July, it is time to start getting excited about the 2012-2013 NFL season. As we approach the first home pre-season game on August 10, the City of Jacksonville will do its part to be a great teammate with Mr. Khan, Coach Mike Mularkey, and the entire Jaguars organization.
Alvin Brown Mayor
Mayor Alvin Brown releases a letter to Jaguars fans regarding the recent letter-gate between the city and the team.