Mayor, officials' London trip costs taxpayers nearly $20,000 so far | News

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Mayor, officials' London trip costs taxpayers nearly $20,000 so far

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A First Coast News investigation shows the City of Jacksonville has spent nearly $20,000 on a week-long trip to Europe.

The investigation has also revealed that the cost will go up even higher once receipts from the trip are processed.

Right now, Mayor Alvin Brown, City Council President Bill Gulliford and Economic Development Chief Ted Carter are in London, England.

They are spending the week attending business meetings set up in part by Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

The game plan is to try and bring new, international business to the River City.

First Coast News has confirmed there are more than 20 different companies the city is meeting with. One of them is Deutsche Bank.

Leaders will also be attending the Jaguars game in London against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

First Coast News obtained multiple pages of travel documents from the city to conduct its investigation.

Brown flew commercial on British Airways from Miami to London for $1,473.20.

City spokesman David DeCamp said the mayor could not find his passport in time to fly on the team's charted plane.

He had to travel on his own dime to Miami, where an office could process his passport request quickly.

Brown is scheduled to return to Jacksonville on the Virgin Atlantic chartered flight for $1,416.73.

During his six-night stay in London, Brown's hotel is estimated to be costing around $430 a night. That comes out to be $2,580.

The city is also spending $983.76 for Brown to have a suite seat at the Jaguars game.

In all so far, Brown's portion of the trip comes out to be around $6,500.

As for council president Bill Gulliford, he is flying round-trip on the chartered team plane for $2,696.12.

The city is also paying for him to have a suite seat for $983.76.

Gulliford's office tells First Coast News the councilman's lodging expense is $477 a night for six nights. That comes out to be more than $2,800.

His office confirms city officials are staying at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott property that boasts itself online as a luxury property.

Economic development chief Carter is also flying round-trip on the Virgin Atlantic flight for $2,696.12

His hotel expense is $432 a night for six nights. That comes out to be nearly $2,600.

The city is not, though, paying for Carter to have a suite seat at the game.

Instead, it's spending $464 for him to have a Great Hall hospitality ticket, according to travel documents.

When you combined the travel costs that have been incurred for all city officials so far, the total comes to more than $18,000.

That does not include any food, drink or incidentals that were incurred on the trip.

Seven members of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce are traveling with the city officials.

However, chamber spokesman Dan Dawson confirms the agency is using no public dollars.

He said the trip is 100% economic development.


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