Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Disclosure Forms Reveal Wealth, Financial Ties of Candidates; Peyton Not the Only Millionaire in Race

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Disclosure Forms Reveal Wealth, Financial Ties of Candidates; Peyton Not the Only Millionaire in Race

Article excerpt

Byline: Binyamin Appelbaum, Times-Union staff writer

There's more than one millionaire running for mayor of Jacksonville.

Republican John Peyton is worth $11.9 million, more than the other six candidates combined, according to disclosure forms filed with the Supervisor of Elections. But Republican Matt Carlucci also tops six zeroes, checking in at $1.3 million. And Democrat Nat Glover comes close, reporting a net worth of $930,889.

The forms, filed with qualifying papers, have a more serious side than net worth figures. They also list the sources of income and property holdings that could create conflicts of interest for the next mayor over the next four years. Recent polls show Glover leading a statistical knot of Carlucci, Peyton and Republican Mike Weinstein, into Tuesday's first election.

Nearly all of the candidates have financial or personal stakes in something that could be touched by the city during the next four years.

They are unlikely to break the letter of Florida law, which basically bars only direct dealings between a mayor and a private business they own or work for. Most of the mayor's power is exercised through intermediary departments or agencies.

But whatever their exposure, all of the candidates make the same promise: If elected, they will treat the office as a sacred trust, placing residents' interests above their own.

The balancing act is most likely to confront Peyton, who is an executive at his father's company, Gate Petroleum Co.

The Jacksonville properties owned by Gate include Deerwood Park and Southpoint office parks, SunTrust Riverplace Tower, a large piece of Blount Island, Epping Forest Yacht Club, Marsh Landing Bath Club, a concrete plant on Heckscher Drive, several dozen gas stations and convenience stores, and a large parcel of undeveloped land in the Regency area.

The Regency parcel is the most immediate source of potential conflicts. Gate plans to develop the land and has paid the city a considerable sum toward the construction and expansion of area roads. Questions about limiting access to roads running through the property also face the next administration.

Peyton says his focus will be on the public interest if elected.

"I'm not going to draw a salary from Gate or be active in its decision-making," he said.

But while he would resign from his company role if elected, he also owns a sizable chunk of Gate stock. And he plans to return to the company "in four years or in eight years"; sooner if he loses.

Other candidates have smaller exposure to conflicts.

-- Carlucci owns Matt Carlucci Insurance, which mostly insures private individuals. He made $304,478 in 2002, more than any other candidate. He pulled a paycheck from the company and a rent check for the offices on Hendricks Avenue, which he owns with his wife. …

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