• Bethel pastor responds to Jacksonville Kids Hope Alliance micro-grant controversy

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Prominent Jacksonville pastor Rudolph McKissick Jr. addressed the Kids Hope Alliance micro-grant controversy from the pulpit Sunday morning.

    He addressed the issue with his congregation and claimed it would be the only time he speaks about the matter.

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    "I'm nobody's patsy; I'm a prophet," he said.


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    McKissick Jr. didn't hold back and said he has never received preferential treatment from the mayor's office.

    "The chief of staff made a call to this gentleman and said Bethel needs a grant. I don't know why that happened," he said.

    McKissick Jr. was referring to text messages Action News Jax showed you Friday in which Mayor Lenny Curry's Chief administrative Officer Brian Hughes tells Kids Hope Alliance CEO Joseph Peppers, "Bethel gonna need micro."

    That text was sent a month after Peppers accused Hughes and another former city official, Sam Mousa, of pressuring him to make sure certain non-profits receive a micro-grant from the Stop the Violence campaign.

    "We didn't request a second grant or anything. That was just the mayor's office looking out I guess. I don't know," said McKissick Jr.

    Hughes claims the text was meant to encourage KHA to make Bethel aware that they could apply for the grant.

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    McKissick Jr. said he never got a call from the mayor's office, nor has he received any grant money. 

    He did acknowledge having a good working relationship with the mayor's office as well as his predecessors.

    "You cannot pastor this kind of church and not have some kind of connection with the mayor's office," he said.

    Weeks before those texts were exchanged Bethel applied for and was awarded a $5,000 micro grant, but McKissick Jr. said they're yet to receive that money.

    "I don't want the money; we're going to raise the money in here" he said.

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