Clemons calls for Mayor Ward and GRU General Manager Cunningham to resign

Rep. Chuck Clemons and Sen. Keith Perry listen at today’s Alachua County Legislative Delegation meeting


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Following today’s Alachua County Legislative Delegation meeting, Rep. Chuck Clemons called for Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward to resign.

In a statement released this evening, Clemons wrote,

“Today I call for Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward to resign his office, based on information that has surfaced centered on his role in directing GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham to delay a bond underwriting that cost GRU ratepayers approximately $2.9 million dollars. In addition, the Mayor and Commissioner Bryan Eastman took to social media and other public outlets to place blame directly on the legislature for the increased costs, which was never true. The Mayor and Commissioner Eastman doubled down on their narrative and will now have to back up their statement with facts, probably under oath.

“In addition, I call for the GRU General Manager, Tony Cunningham, to immediately tender his resignation to the GRU Authority. It is unconscionable that Mr Cunningham knew full well that the delay of this bond underwriting was neither reasonable or financially prudent and still refused to exhibit good judgment on behalf of the customers. This bad decision cost $2.9 million dollars. This is not Monopoly money. He should be held accountable.

“What the Mayor has done, I believe, is both unethical and against the laws of the State of Florida. I will call for the House Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee to open an investigation as to these irregularities.”

During the legislative delegation meeting, Ward had the opportunity to make requests on behalf of the City of Gainesville, and he started by saying, “I want to say that I recognize that my fellow Commissioners and I want to bridge the gap between us and you, as our elected representation in Tallahassee. I fully intend, as I continue my first year as Mayor, to continue to build those relationships on behalf of the people that we all serve.” He then spoke for about five minutes about various awards and accreditations earned by the City and about some of the Commission’s projects, including the MLK Multipurpose Complex on Waldo Road. He thanked the legislators for their support of the Community Resource Paramedicine Program.

Ward concluded, “The people who work at City Hall, the Thomas Center, and GPD and GFR and RTS, Parks, and Public Works, throughout our organization, work hard to deliver the very best value to our neighbors. The rest of the state relies on Gainesville’s consistency, strength, and vibrancy. The people of Florida depend on Gainesville. We depend on your to support our work and our people. Thank you for listening, and I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”

  • Clemons is nothing but a damned conservative republican fascist and should mind his damn business. The people of Gainesville didn’t elect him. They elected Harvey Ward. All republican fascist should get the hell out of our city. We’re a liberal city and don’t like your kind.

    • That scumbag mayor lard azz lying ward needs to go! hopefully you’ll help him pack and move with him.

    • We don’t want to live in your Bankrupt, Crime ridden ,polluted city. We just want freedom from your Bankrupt Utility and you running it. Watching Harvey trying to slip out of the current situation will be interesting . Enjoy your property 27% tax hike and continued state of denial.

      • We already been getting started with you fascists, using crooked Donald Trump. After we get through with him in the courts, he’ll be bankrupt and in prison for the rest of his miserable pathetic life.

        • When who gets through with Trump? The 81 million voters who put Sleepy Joe in office 🙂 🙂 Be prepared, you are in for a rude awakening..

        • What does what you said have to do with the malfeasance of the city mayor and the GM of the utility where he didn’t defend the utility but allowed more debt knowing it was going to happen. That means he doesn’t have the ability to lead properly. You all seem to continue to throw around words that are mere representations of yourselves, and do indeed represent communism. Sadly you all are following in such a communist way that it isn’t just communism but a disgrace to what America was built on. You scream democracy, but are not about democracy. If it isn’t your way it is no way. Well it’s been YOUR WAY LONG ENOUGH. No one is leaving, the more you tell me too the more I will stay… I will not sit down nor shut up I will step back and continue to watch the temper tantrums you all through. And throwing of words you all do not seem to completely comprehend, like monkeys throwing crap. 🥱🥱🥱

        • Look who’s talking, you could take some lesson’s from PRESIDENT TRUMP, LOOK AT HOW YOU COMMENT VOTE IS GOING, BETTER WAKE UP.

        • I agree.
          There is a reason why J. Epstein died in his cell.
          Take out the only witness, and then there is “no collusion”.

    • Someone find this person a safe place quick!! Joey get some rest cause it’s only gonna get worse for you buddy. The liberal monster that is Gainesville has got some explaining to do😁 hopefully across the entire Country bit definitely here.
      And I thoroughly enjoy watching and reading about it.

    • I have lived here all my life, ‘Joey’. This is not about ‘liberal’ versus ‘conservative’ and if you view it that way, you have no clue. It is a city that has been nearly destroyed by ineptitude on an unprecedented level. Harvey Ward is just the latest in a line of two-bit politicians who seem hell-bent on making Gainesville into Portland-East.

    • Joey, you are the fascist. Saying that anyone that disagrees with you should not be welcome in your city. I miss the old liberals that were accepting of everyone😳

    • Fascist. That word you love so much. I don’t think you know what it means. You sound like an incompetent idiot every time you use it.

    • Hmm… what happened to the “love” that’s supposed to come from the left? Not feeling it in your comment, not at all.

    • The liberals have destroyed Gainesville and continue to manage the city into the toilet. Keep voting for them and you’ll continue to get the same results

    • Such an amazing liberal city. Its a dirty Mecca for homeless from all over because handouts are everywhere.

  • The governor should appoint a grand jury to investigate the city commission of Gainesville and the mayor

  • Well Harv, looks like you pushed the delusional button right in front of everyone! I thought I heard the whole state laughing hysterically at your really dumb assertion that the state depends on Gainesville. What is wrong with this city? Maybe the biomass plant is spewing out LSD. WE NEED AN INVESTIGATION WITH SERIOUS DEPTH.

    • Does he realize out in the real world and around the state Gainesville is the butt of jokes for it’s ignorance? This commission must truly believe they are in LaLa land without any accountability.

  • Clemons and all republicans are insurrectionists and traitors. Republicans are evil and belong locked up in prison.

    • That is a pretty interesting statement… it truly shows you want a one party government (communism) hmm… so much for y’all saying democracy this and that…… I have several democratic friends, and actually see level with them. Here is why, they actually have a brain. We do not agree all the time, but funny how t

    • Gee, paint with quite the wide brush there, do ya?

      Do your parents know you’re using the internet?

    • Harry, tell us you’re a thirteen year old keyboard kommando without telling us you’re a thirteen year old keyboard kommando…geez, at least get a FEW new liberal talking points before going full potato on a public forum.

  • Hopefully Lauren Poe gets held accountable too- he sure did set the stage for a lot of this.

  • When obtaining a recipe for mana spells I came across a recipe which called for two eye of newts and one possum tail – does this seem like it will be too potent?

  • With the same authority that Clemons bases his call for Ward’s resignation rests on – none – I call on him and Perry to resign immediately. Clemons rushed the half baked hostile GRU takeover bill through the legislature, with no expert or public comment or study, immediately costing GRU a drop in it’s credit rating, and of course Perry illegally received $100k dark money from FPL in order to squeak out his election against Dr. Enneking by funding a stealth candidate. Perry should be in jail, not in the office he stole. Clemons fails to mention that the GRU “board” is entirely illegitimate with 4 of the 5 “members” not meeting the basic qualifications he wrote into the bill. His gerrymandered seat – even more of Gainesville’s western suburbs were cut out of his district and attached to the Maclenny representatives district. Of course west Gainesville has so much in common with Maclenny, so it couldn’t have anything to do with saving this creep’s seat.



    • Funding a stealth candidate in primaries is unfortunately all too common in our two party closed primary setup. We all know that’s how Unqualified Clovis became sheriff.
      Is it illegal? No.
      Is it underhanded. Absolutely.

      You have copied and pasted that same crap a hundred times. Give it a rest.

      • Read more carefully Slice – not reporting funds correctly is a crime and Perry did not report this gift from FPL.

        Sorry you can’t handle the truth.

        • You mean like Ward’s campaign for mayor who paid big bucks to an entity that no longer existed?

        • The funding technically went to the stealth candidate…why would Perry be legally responsible for reporting that? They used a loophole and it worked. Same as Clovis.

          And I fully agree that these tricks are shady. Fla primaries should be open elections anyway.

          The key to stopping these tricks from both parties is for the Supreme Court to overturn its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision…but good luck with that! That decision essentially opened the floodgates for unlimited campaign funding from corporations and other outside entities.

      • Thanks for the link Slice.

        “Onbalance,webelievethatGRU’senvironmentalrisksarecreditneutral.Ontheonehand,GRUhasadiversepower supply,primarilycenteredonnaturalgas,asizableamountofrenewablegeneration(relativetotheregion),andavery modestamountofcoal-firedgeneration.Ontheother,achievingitsgoalof100%renewableenergyby2045willlikely bechallengedbyveryhighratesanddebtlevels,inflationaryanddirectivesoftheyet-to-beappointedboard…. Givenrecentlyenactedgovernancelegislationandalackofclarityonthedirectionthatthe newboardwilltake,weviewgovernancerisksasmoderatelynegative,asrate-raisingflexibilitywillcontinueto challengetheutilityinaddressingstrategicgoals.”

        Elsewhere: “Nevertheless,statelegislation(HB1645)removesgovernanceoftheGRUfromtheGainesvillecitycommissionand vestsitinafive-memberboardthatwillincludeonemember(orpotentiallytwo,basedoncustomerdistribution)from outsideofthecitylimits,tobeappointedbythegovernorandseatedbyOct.1,2023.”

        Geez, the “board” is already screwing it up!

    • Jizz-on-ur-chin you sound a little bitter. Don’t worry when Mayor backWard gets removed you can hire him to ruin, I mean run your personal finances.

    • You are the idiot in the room! You haven’t even spoken to those communities suffering! Your precious Yvonne won’t even come to my POOR community to see what they want! Hmmm seems your communism got you bed… keep sinking the koolaid!

  • Outside the political punditry there may be enough legal fuzziness to cloud the differences between ‘wrong doing’ and ‘wrong decisions.’ That, however, is not a defense against the cumulative bad decisions made by Cunningham and Ward in the GRU saga which merit the calls for their resignations.

    The threat of Gainesville’s ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ still looms with consistently bad decisions by its own hand.

  • Chuck, the big tough guy, sits in a four hour meeting with everyone involved and says nothing to their faces. As soon as the meeting ends runs to the press demanding things.

    What a little wimpy dandy.

  • Rep. Clemons, his henchman Sen. Perry and their affiliated Tallahassee-based PACs used lies on billboards, mailers and handouts to hijack the manner of electing Alachua County commissioners. I refer to Amendment 1 in the last general election that installed a voting system previously rejected by local voters; this they did with despotic impunity. For the perpetrator of this partisan hijack to call someone else “unethical” is behavior a psychologist would label as PROJECTION.

  • The voters have been clear. We re-elected Harvey Ward. Clemmons needs to keep his unwanted suggestions to himself and among his right-wing cronies who are relentlessly pushing their own agenda.

    • GH: “The voters have been clear. We re-elected Harvey Ward.”

      That is true.

      What is the tipping point in a series of bad judgements and ill effects on Gainesville residents that would give the voters to call for Ward’s resignation?

      If there are no tipping points where local political party leaders divest themselves of a failed candidate or incumbent, then, yes, Gainesville will be stuck without leadership in the game of ‘keep away’ against the other side.

      Can Democrats come up with an alternative to Ward? The same question is being asked at the national level regarding the 2024 presidential race.

      Clemmons and Ward are neither right nor wrong because of their politics. They are right or wrong based upon the actual cost to Gainesville in the bond – and GRU in general – matter as well as the questions surfacing about Sunshine Law infractions.

    • Sometimes the people we vote for do not have our best interests at heart. Our City Commissioners for the last 20 years have mostly been hand picked by the DEC. They might talk a good game and say the right things but when you look at their record every since the biomass fiasco which you supported, City government has gone to hell in a hand cart.

      The state audit has been years in the making and instead of getting their act together, your friends on the City Commission have continued their mismanagement of the city and GRU resources. When the CFO of GRU is sending out memos because she’s been instructed to pull back on a bond deal and it was at the direction of the Mayor. And then you find out this was done in secret, for bogus reasons and it now will cost us an additional $2.9 Million something is seriously wrong and someone should be held accountable.

      A lot of people have gone to Clemmons and Perry asking for something to be done after trying everything else for many years. Reality doesn’t care about party affiliation and neither does wrong doing.

  • Should add the City Attorney on that resign list as well for cherry picking
    memos for Caruso that were from GRU Financial Advisor PFM

    “City Attorney Daniel Nee reportedly showed Caruso at the meeting; the Gainesville Sun obtained a copy and characterized the memo as “show[ing] GRU’s financial advisor saying the bond swap was a sound financial decision.” Before replying, Rasnick obtained another memorandum from PFM that discussed the delayed debt issuance in detail. That memo concluded that the delay led to a higher interest rate and that the resulting deal was only deemed “fair, market-based” in light of higher interest rates and the uncertainty of GRU’s governance structure. The memo specifically notes that PFM “did not recommend any delay” in March in closing the transactions.

  • All y’all whine about your GRU bills, but then you get mad when a republican tries to tell you how to fix it. Everyone knows that dumbocrats can’t understand how to budget. All they do is throw your money away on BS, then y’all complain, and then yall vote the idiots right back into office

  • The city of Gainesville has been poorly run and suspicious for many many years now, with their hands in the pockets of GRU and UF. It’s sad that it always comes back to conservative vs. liberal. How about no matter where you stand you just do the right thing and be a good person? Instead we just further their power by allowing division. It’s not right vs. left, it’s right vs. wrong and both sides are guilty of wrongdoing, but us as the people are responsible for seeing through the BS. Instead of worrying about what party they align with let’s worry about what they stand for and can they show a history of making good decisions for us. Isn’t that the entire point of elected officials? We all are going to continue to live here together, so I think it’s time to take a step back and realize we are acutally all in this together and their decisions will effect us all. Regardless of what party they belong to, a decision that adds $2.9 million to a city already struggling with their finances was a poor choice for everyone that lives in Gainesville, it literally effects every single citizen, and you guys are all on here arguing about parties and who did worse. Expose the corruption, and when it’s right in our faces we need to not be blind to it and fight against it. It’s wrong regardless of liberal or conservative. How about a logical and reasonable representative that actually cares about their impacts on us, where are they hiding?

  • “The rest of the state relies on Gainesville’s consistency, strength, and vibrancy. The people of Florida depend on Gainesville.” wtf? Ward is an idiot. The state of Florida doesn’t “depend” of Gainesville.

    • Maybe he’s planning to plead insanity at some point and is laying the groundwork. UF is important to the state – in spite of where it is located. Gainesville might have been a little bit important back when we had some tech start-ups, but “Professur” Poe ruined that.

  • I move for a vote of “No Confidence” in Mayor Ward and Cunningham’s leadership.

  • More Jihad against Gainesville from the guys who not only couldn’t get elected there, but have purposefully cut more and more of it from their districts in order to cling to office. Your district is Newberry and Trenton buddy – stay there – and your pal Perry, who should be in jail for hiding at least $100k dark campaign money from FPL – gee, wonder what they wanted? – is hiding from Gainesville voters also. How about taking care of the GRU “board” of non-residents you created and which is now a joke of illegitimacy. That is your baby and it needs to be changed.

    • As usual, you are trying to slink around the truth by failing to mention that Clemons was an elected County Commissioner here in Alachua County. Unlike Hutch, he went on to bigger and better things. The County Commission was much friendlier and more sane back when people like Chuck Clemons and Penny Wheat were on it. Look at it now… like something out of a sci-fi horror film.

      • GRU is not owned by Alachua County , but by Gainesville, the engine that fuels the county and it’s various bedroom communities (they used to be agricultural hubs, but no more). Ward is a Gainesville elected leader, not county, and it is a fact that both Clemons and Perry have jettisoned more parts of Gainesville and near suburb from their district for the sole purpose of hanging on – barely – to their seats. Gainesville citizens have made it clear that they hate these guys guts, as well they should.

    • While you’re looking under rocks, maybe you can figure out where all the money is coming from to fund these frivolous law suits your friends keep filing.

      • 1. Not my personal friends.
        2. Nothing illegal about citizens filing suits, unlike the tactics of Perry who barely stayed in office by using illegal dark money from FPL – I’m sure they had innocent intentions.
        3. Why wouldn’t citizens sue to maintain control of their property, which was stolen in a partisan and hostile takeover.

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