Corrine Brown is my favorite politicianto cover. By far. A great quote. But now that she’s up against 22 counts, she’s probably not going to be cutting any hot promos anytime soon.
She is in trouble. Her bag of tricks is emptying. The media vultures are circling, and her entourage is a little lighter than it used to be, as some people who were once in the inner circle are out.
She brought out the old tricks Friday afternoon at the federal courthouse.
As the eggheads of the press fried on the overheated pavement, Brown and her attorney, Elizabeth White, chose to talk not about the court proceedings or the specific charges, but instead about things that the media would’ve been forgiven for seeing as tangential.
They talked about issues like the racial composition of contractors who built the courthouse. And they talked about the disenfranchisement of black voters who can’t vote in the races for state attorney or public defender.
These are great topics. Happy to host a panel discussion on either of them. And there’s a time and a place to discuss them.
That time, that place was not after you and your chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, heard a combined 24 counts between you, with a potential jail time of more than 700 years and well over $8 million in combined fines, if the feds have their info right.
Not after a case was made, emphatically, that you faked a charity and scammed a slush fund.
If you had paid $5 for a copy of the indictment, which was so big it almost immediately broke a staple, you would’ve seen how the feds made their case.
Point by point. Instance by instance. Coverage, thus far, has focused on the lurid money Brown and company took from One Door: a skybox at a Jaguars game against the Redskins; a luxury box at a Beyoncé concert.
But after reading it again, what caught my eye were the pathetic little incidental transactions, which almost certainly will come to light when Brown’s banking records are introduced into evidence.
Brown or Simmons, at oddly spaced intervals, would go to the ATM with the One Door debit card, take out money sometimes as chickenshit as $500, and then go to an ATM at a different bank and deposit that money into Brown’s account, or sometimes his account.
Allegedly, of course.
What is $500 to Corrine Brown? She has blouses that cost more than that. Sometimes there were multiple transactions within a week of each other. And sometimes they’d be spaced out by months.
What drives that kind of spending? There was even an occasion when she was in negative balance on her bank account, and One Door money had to turn the frown upside down. How does that happen for someone working 27/6?
I see so many people fulminating with outrage, their white skin privilege showing as “she finally gets what they deserve.” I have no time for those people. This is a sad day for Jacksonville, a time of uncertainty, and like the Congresswoman said last week, I too am “sad” and “prayerful.”
Because of the Congresswoman’s sketchy spending habits, Fullwoodian approach to finances, and fraudulent tax returns and financial disclosure reports, Jacksonville is in the very real position of getting ready to lose four decades of seniority in the U.S. House on Aug. 30.
Ander Crenshaw is going out in a blaze of glory. Corrine? The courts are giving her some bad medicine. And for Jacksonville, the House floor is going to be slippery when wet.
Let’s leave aside the transition to John Rutherford in Congressional District 4. We’re in deep doodoo in Congressional District 5 once the post-Corrine era begins.
Al Lawson — a nice guy, to be sure. But here’s the problem. He knows about as much about Jacksonville as your average Jacksonville resident knows about Tallahassee.
When he came here earlier this year on a two-day visit, he referred to Eureka Garden as “the place Marco Rubio visited.” Because he didn’t know the name.
Because he’s not from here. And because that new district is so jacked up that we could have a Congressman for whom the center of the district is in a different area code.
Back when Corrine was fighting the redistricting, she was right when she said Jacksonville and North Florida have nothing in common. That is the truth. We have nothing in common with Blue Dog Democrats and dying little speed-trap towns and whatever else is out there.
Brown made that case. And because she compromised herself, the case will never be made again, and Black Jacksonville will see its stroke diminished because of the crackers out west.
We’re seeing an endgame here. The most interesting question, at this point, is “Why?” Brown ran away from the media rather than answer questions last week. She won’t have that option at trial in a couple of months.