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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Art Shad and the appearance of impropriety

One of the more interesting things that has gone unmentioned during the San Marco zoning controversy is the close relationship between the District Council Member [Art Shad] and the lobbyist fighting for the zoning change [Paul Harden].  Mr. Shad, whose tenure on the Council has been marked with personal controversy, utilized the services of Mr. Harden in attempting to “soothe over” a lawsuit brought by a constituent.  In March 2008, Mr. Shad was accused of punching Jacksonville attorney Tim Kelly after Mr. Kelly’s labrador showed excessive affection towards Mr. Shad.  Mr. Kelly sued for $15,000 in damages, at which point Paul Harden intervened to try to make the situation go away.  Mr. Harden was ultimately unsuccessful and the lawsuit moved forward, and ultimately a stipulated dismissal was filed in the case this past December.

Now, Art Shad has led the charge to assist Mr. Harden in pushing through a zoning change on property that his brother [Harden] owns without making any steps to recuse himself from a debate in which he appears to have an obvious conflict of interest.  As he gushed through an endorsement of this particular zoning change on Tuesday night (which passed 11-6), Art Shad proved that it’s business as usual in “The Corrupt New City of the South.”  (Or, to ditch Godbold’s slogan in favor of Peyton’s…”Jacksonville:  Where Corruption Begins.”)

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