The DUI arrest of receiver Justin Blackmon went a long way toward turning the page on a dispute that disappeared almost as quickly as it bubbled up between the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville.
But while no one is claiming this time around that the lease was violated or using terms like “shocked and perplexed,” tension remains regarding the issue that sparked the temporary ugliness. The Jaguars want a company known as SMG to continue to manage Everbank Field, and Jacksonville wants a company known as Global Spectrum to take the contract away from SMG.
SMG has offered to slash its fee from $1.2 million per year to $125,000. SMG wants $300,000 per year as a base fee, but it will make $1.5 million in improvements to the facility.
According to ActionNewsJax.com, former Pennsylvania congressman William Gray is a close friend of Mayor Alvin Brown. Gray also is a Comcast lobbyist. And Comcast owns Global Spectrum. (Comcast also owns NBC.)
Peter Luukko, chairman of Global Spectrum, admits that Gray is part of the effort to win the contract at Everbank Field. “He’s a part of our team,” Luukko said. “Obviously, this is a political process and to be able to utilize different people in town to get through the process is important to us.”
Coincidentally, or not, a subcommittee of high-ranking members of Mayor Brown’s staff has recommended that the contract go to Global Spectrum, a development that SMG officially has protested. “We look forward to learning more about the subcommittee’s basis for its recommendation,” SMG said in a statement.
Eventually, SMG may want to know more about the relationship between Gray and Brown. For now, though, SMG is taking the high road.
“We have no basis to object to any friendships that the mayor may have,” SMG said.
Perhaps the key word omitted from the statement was/is “yet.”