The Independent is on vacation until Oct. 8.
But there is work being done on several important stories, such as how Nassau County Tax Collector John Drew spent more than $80,000 of taxpayer money to defend himself against a Callahan resident and former political challenger against charges that include questions about why he parked a boat at his office in Yulee. According to records from the state Commission on Ethics, Mr. Drew spent $200 per hour on attorneys, plus various amounts for additional help. According to Mr. Drew’s petition, he used “budgeted funds” of taxpayer money.
Mr. Drew’s lead attorney serves as the Executive Director of the Florida Tax Collectors Association, an organization that Mr. Drew once served as president. Phone calls to the association go straight to the lawyer’s private office and have not been returned.
Nassau County is scheduled to hold a meeting Oct. 2 with Rayonier, through its land trust Raydient, to discuss and define parks and recreation for its giant development project the East Nassau planned association. The first development phase is known as Wildlight. The county has concerns about the company’s commitment to building local parks. The company secured a stewardship district from the state legislature with a letter of support from the County Commission. At a presentation last year to pitch the proposal, the company said it would build recreation. The company has a five-member board for its stewardship district, including four employees of the firm. One member is outside the company. This is important for Nassau County because for the first time decisions about building and infrastructure are being decided by non-elected officials.
The Independent hopes to be scooped on how taxpayer money is being spent on these matters by any and every other reporter in our community.