• Latitude 360 CFO resignation letter reveals company was $20 million in debt

    By: Jenna Bourne

    Updated:

    A bombshell resignation letter from Latitude 360’s former Chief Financial Officer reveals the Jacksonville-based company was more than $20 million in debt years before it shut down.

    His 2013 letter to the board said the company also owed millions in taxes, was hit with more than $250,000 in bank fees from bouncing checks that year, and wasn’t insuring its facilities -- where children played and adults drank.

    READ THE LETTER: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

    “That’s crazy,” said former Latitude 360 cook Jeff Land.

    Most frustrating for Land is where Phillips said the company was withholding taxes from employees’ paychecks, but not paying it to the government, knowing it could “jeopardize the employees.”

    “Just blown away that they would allow this to keep going for so many years or whatever – and not anybody do anything about it,” Land said.

    Former CFO Craig Phillips sued the company a year later — and won. The judge ordered Latitude 360 to pay him more than $100,000.

    The resignation letter was written a year after CEO Brent Brown bought his gated waterfront mansion in San Marco and three months before a lawsuit says he bought an luxury Aston Martin car worth $90,000 with Latitude 360 stock.

    “What’s happened here is there was not enough oversight from the board, or from the individual shareholders, or from the federal government or the state government,” said Action News Jax Law & Safety Expert Dale Carson.

    Carson said Phillips likely wrote this letter to cover himself in case the company was ever investigated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the hook.

    “If I write a letter like this and I only give it to one person and I don’t give it to enforcement authorities, I really haven’t eliminated my personal responsibilities,” Carson said.

    Phillips’ attorney Mark Rubin confirms his client never reported these red flags to the authorities.

    Phillips declined to comment on the letter.

    Carson said if the board members knew about these financial red flags and didn’t report them either, they could also face serious legal consequences

    Next Up: