JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Right now Jacksonville leaders are trying to repair a public relations disaster after a city attorney threatened to eliminate the Jaguars lease of EverBank Field.
Mayor Alvin Brown says it's all a misunderstanding and has promised to make things right. It's turned into a big mess and may have damaged the relationship.
Many of you are asking how could this happen? General Counsel Cindy Laquidara is already in the hot seat because of the furniture fight over the courthouse. We learned a city council committee will look at a resolution next week of no confidence filed against Laquidara asking her to essentially resign.
That was before all of this happened with the Jags. Now there are a lot of letters of apology for almost costing the city its football team.
It's the time of year this city looks forward too. It's football season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but a major miscommunication in the mayor's office could've left the stadium dark.
Action News has a copy of a letter sent to Mayor Alvin Brown from Jags owner Shad Khan. Khan says he was "shocked and perplexed." The reason was a letter he got Friday saying the team was violating its lease and it would be terminated. It would mean the Jags would have no place to play.
"This is not the kind of dialogue you have on the front page or the 6pm news," said City Council Vice President Bill Bishop. "It makes you wonder what's going on."
So how did this happen?
An hour after Action News obtained Khan's letter and broke the story on our 5 p.m. newscast Wednesday, the city released new letters apologizing more than once.
In a letter to the Jags president, General Counsel Cindy Laquidara says she wasn't aware of a change agreed to by her Chief Deputy General Counsel Karen Chastiain back in April. She apologized for her internal communications error.
Laquidara also wrote another letter to Mayor Brown apologizing for "failing to stay informed on the matter and for erroneously informing" Khan the contract was breached.
Finally the mayor sent a letter to Khan, saying he's committed to the Jags being here to help power Jacksonville's success. He says, "Let me be crystal clear, the City of Jacksonville has absolutely no intention whatsoever of terminating its lease with the Jacksonville Jaguars."
We went right to the mayor's office to get answer and to see who will be held accountable for almost letting an 800 million dollar franchise leave the city. We walked in and saw Mayor Brown behind a locked door. He acknowledged Action News reporter Catherine Varnum, but he ducked out of the office through a back door.
We tried calling his top communication staff. They said the letters were their only comment.
As for Laquidara, she's been with the city for 14 years. Now she's facing scrutiny because of the furniture debate with the courthouse and a major mess up here with the Jags.
We did reach out to a spokesman for the Jaguars. They did not want to comment any further than what Shad Khan's letter said.