Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Was Curry Doing Politically on His Trip?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Was Curry Doing Politically on His Trip?

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

Mousing around the news of the day ... click.

Mayor Lenny Curry didn't exactly sneak out of town in the dark of the night, but he didn't shout it from the rooftops that he was climbing aboard Shad Khan's private jet for a quick tour of three cities.

When Times-Union reporter Nate Monroe checked Curry's daily schedule last Monday, it didn't mention any travel plans.

But it turned out that Curry, Khan, Jaguar president Mark Lamping and Curry's chief administrative officer, Sam Mousa, and possibly others had jetted off to Kansas City, St. Louis and Baltimore.

After doing some digging, Monroe was told the purpose of the 36-hour trip was two-fold.

One objective was to look at the development being done in those cities' downtowns.

Khan has been selected by the Downtown Investment Authority to develop the Shipyards property, so getting a look at what other cities have done in downtown and around sports complexes makes sense.

But it does cause a bit of queasiness that Curry chose to do so in a luxurious private jet courtesy of Khan, who is still involved in negotiations with the DIA and who undoubtedly will be asking for money from the city to complete the Shipyards project.

The city has already invested millions of dollars in other ventures that benefitted Khan, as well as the city, projects that I have supported.

The queasiness about this chummy trip aside, there's a comfort level in the fact that whatever Khan, Curry and the DIA come up with will have to be fully vetted in the public, unlike what's happening with another Curry-backed proposal - a massive expenditure to deepen the St. Johns River shipping channel.

The second stated purpose of the trip was for Curry "to handle political business."

With that, I have a big problem.

We don't know what Curry means by "political business" because Curry refused to talk to the Times-Union when the entourage returned on Tuesday.

If he was collecting campaign contributions or money for his political committee while talking to people interested in doing business in Jacksonville, then that would be flat out wrong.

He's welcome to clear up the mystery. …

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