Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to On Target Messaging and FlexPoint Media as PACs. Additionally, the headline incorrectly stated that Jax Integrity alleged misuse of party funds. The story has been updated to correct these errors.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — A coalition of Republicans on the Duval County Republican Executive Committee (DREC) are waving a red flag regarding alleged misuse of party funds.
Members of Jax Integrity, a group of Duval GOP members concerned with the direction of the party, have pointed the finger at Chair Dean Black for showing partiality in elections featuring more than one Republican.
“There are serious problems with how the Republican Party of Duval County and its chairman, Dean Black, are spending party funds,” said Robin Lumb, a former Duval GOP Chair, the governing body of the local Republican Party.
Jax Integrity called attention to nearly $1 million in payments to campaign and media consultants who work for Daniel Davis’s political action committee (PAC), “Building a Better Economy.” Davis, a mayoral candidate, currently serves as President and CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
Citing a spending report from the Supervisor of Elections, Jax Integrity pointed to payments totaling over $930,000 made by the Duval GOP to two consulting firms: On Target Messaging, owned by Black’s political consultant Alexander Pantinakis, and FlexPoint Media, which Jax Integrity says is closely tied to Tim Baker, the political consultant running Davis’ campaign.
Given the opaque nature of the report, Jax Integrity wants to pop the hood and learn exactly what the money went toward. The report simply notes “Communications and Advertising Expenses.”
“Until we receive a detailed accounting from these consultants, one that’s been verified by an outside audit, we won’t know how the money was used,” Lumb, an 18-year veteran of the Republican Executive Committee, said. “At a minimum, the Duval GOP managed to enrich the two consultants who are now running Daniel Davis’s campaign for mayor.”
“SHOCKING” LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
Jax Integrity member Kathleen Perera says Black refused to provide transparency regarding the funds when asked about it at a Duval GOP meeting last month.
“It’s shocking when the Chairman of the Republican Party flat out refuses to explain how party funds are being spent by using the weak excuse that he didn’t want to reveal any ‘strategy’ that would become known to ‘our opponents,’” Perera stated in a press release. “And then to find out that the two consultants are the same ones that worked on [Black’s] campaign for State Representative and that are now running the Daniel Davis campaign is even more disturbing.”
Lumb, who has been raising concerns about party leadership for nearly a year, wants to see more transparency.
“If rank-and-file Republicans knew what was happening behind the scenes I think they’d be outraged,” he said.
Dean Black did not return a request for comment.