JEA Trial: Bombshell testimony reveals that former JEA COO promised higher position after sale

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There was a bombshell testimony on Thursday in the trial against former JEA leaders.


This is a story Action News Jax has been following for more than 5 years.

On Thursday afternoon, former COO Melissa Dykes took the stand. Action News Jax’s Meghan Moriarty was there, and although cameras aren’t allowed inside the courtroom, she sat in and learned that Dykes was essentially promised a higher position if the utility sale went through.

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Dykes was involved in multiple conversations about privatizing JEA, along with defendants Aaron Zahn and Ryan Wannemacher.

The prosecution also went through several slideshows from several meetings in 2019 where there were discussions about eliminating oversight staff to cut costs and reduce labor.

Dykes said that she sometimes felt like the Grim Reaper when she had to give this news to the board.

She also discussed the payout that some of these higher leaders would get if the sale went through.

Read: JEA Trial: Former JEA board members say they knew nothing of bonus plan scheme when approving sale

When asked about her thoughts and if she would get a big payout, she said, “I just didn’t think this was ever going to happen.”

Action News Jax spoke with Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson about how her testimony could impact the juries.

“The question is whether or not the jury can understand the complicated nature of all these reinvestments and those sorts of things, which are very complex. That’s why jurors are really good at looking at witnesses and determining whether or not they’re being authentic and telling the truth,” Carson explained.

Testimony picks back up on Friday. Count on Action News Jax to be there.

Read: ‘Crucible of cross examination’ underway in federal fraud trial of former JEA executives

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