Updated: Hearing postponed on repeated code violations at School Board Member McGraw’s property

Diyonne McGraw speaks at the April 11 School Board Meeting – Alachua Chronicle screen capture from YouTube

Updated at 10:20 a.m. on April 13 with response from the City of Gainesville.


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The City of Gainesville has removed Diyonne McGraw’s property from today’s Special Magistrate Hearing agenda. A spokeswoman from the City told us, “This property was brought into compliance with the City’s Code of Ordinances in advance of today’s hearing.”

Alachua County School Board Member Diyonne McGraw was previously scheduled to come before a City of Gainesville Special Magistrate after the City documented that she held multiple events at her office building after she was told that the building is not zoned for after-hours events. The previous version of the agenda can be viewed here.

McGraw’s business, MBM Properties, Inc., purchased the building in November 2021. On April 4, 2022, McGraw, as the owner/agent of Mpire Events, LLC, submitted a Zoning Verification Form. A note on the application states that a City employee spoke with McGraw on April 5 about a “small event center not being allowed in U4 per Juan and she said to remove that portion and leave only office suites.”

Neighbors who live near the property told Alachua Chronicle that McGraw ran an after-school program for youth at the building, starting in May 2022, that extended through the summer of 2022 with weekend parties that featured loud music. The parties reportedly grew larger in August and September, with cars parking on neighboring streets and even in neighbors’ yards. Neighbors told us they began communicating with McGraw about the noise and parking problems, and she reportedly told them she would handle it.

However, the parties continued, and neighbors told us McGraw stopped responding to them. They began calling the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) with complaints about the noise and the parking issues, but the issues did not improve.

Neighbors began submitting complaints to Code Enforcement on January 27, 2023. A summary of the case provided to Alachua Chronicle by the City states that a representative from the City of Gainesville spoke to McGraw on February 6 and February 8; the representative noted, “She indicated that it is her property and she can hold an event if she wants to (she gave the example of a baby shower for her daughter or an event for her sorority or an office event for her employees). I explained to her that events after hours are not allowed on the property due to the zoning.”

The employee wrote on February 14 that she advised McGraw to contact the City Planning Department and request an amendment to her zoning, but McGraw said she would call the Mayor and the head of the Planning Department. The employee also noted that two other neighbors had complained since the original complaint on January 27 and that the complainants had provided photo and video evidence of the events, including a Super Bowl party on February 11.

An inspector visited the property on January 27 and posted a Notice of Violation at the property on February 15. The notice ordered McGraw to “Cease and desist from hosting events and/or allowing events to be held on this property. Any event held on this property may be shut down by GPD and the event holder cited. Any further violation will result in a hearing before the Magistrate.” The notice gave a deadline of March 1 for correcting the violations and warned of fines up to $1,000 per day per violation.

On Monday, March 6, the City received complaints that an event had been held from Thursday through Saturday of the previous weekend. The police were called and responded to the property on Saturday, March 4. The inspector formally requested a hearing on March 6.

On March 10, a City employee went to the property and saw tables with decorations, some brochures from a college in Massachusetts, and “small token giveaway items.” Two men came out of the building, and the employee asked if they were preparing for an event; they reportedly gave the employee McGraw’s phone number. The employee noted that when McGraw returned his call, “she told me that they were decorations for a staff retreat. She was elusive on giving information, but kept telling me that she has baby showers and birthday get-togethers for her family and employees at the locations. She also stated that it is her building and she can do what she wants to at her building.” The employee wrote that he explained to McGraw that the zoning limits the building use to “office-related functions.”

Brooksie McGraw, Diyonne McGraw’s daughter, responded to our request for comment and said she is the owner of MBM Properties, not her mother; she said they are in the process of updating the Sunbiz documents to reflect that. She said they were “in compliance” when GPD officers were called and that the neighbors have approached her and yelled at her. “They’ve been served as well with warnings to stay off the property,” she said. “We’ve done everything we can to mitigate the situation, and it’s really not a problem. This article is nothing but click-bait.” Brooksie McGraw also said she hoped to see “more positive articles with substance and articles with substance in general from [Alachua Chronicle].”

One neighbor told us McGraw had served her family with a cease-and-desist letter.

  • Is this the school board member that accepted a salary from the Alachua County School Board for tens of thousands of dollar while supposedly in office illegally? And apparently never paid it back to the taxpayers? School Board Members above the Law? That’s what is wrong with the school kids. Now they have graduated or dropped out and turned Gainesville into a shooting gallery. No respect for the Law.

    • She owns some group homes that were mentioned in at least a couple of the stories here. Her son was caught with drugs one time and the charges were magically dropped or something (that wasn’t reported here), then a second time driving around downtown with a loaded gun including one in the chamber and a bag of weed. After it was found out that she was living in the wrong district, she sued the governor and acted like a diva. She had to be forcibly removed from the school board with a governor’s order instead of resigning with dignity.

  • She’s been calling out the cause of behavioral issues in the school district.
    She’s going to have to watch over her shoulder more than ever.

  • This will disappear in less then 1 week it will be swept under the rug and zoning changed with no public input.
    no joke man

    • “Updated [Apr 12]: Hearing postponed on repeated code violations at School Board Member McGraw’s property.” Sounds like N2 called it.

  • This is a common occurance through Alachua County and the cities within. Politicans think because they were elected into a position that it gives them the right to overlook rules and laws that all citizens must abide by. Once they get started it only gets worse. And when people complain or police attempt to enforce the laws they are shut down by higher ranking people or intimidation. Welcome the good old boy politics that only creat more corruption.

    • She was like this long before she got elected. Biggest parent bully with whom I ever dealt over my three decade career in education. For her to talk of aberrant student behavior is the apex of hypocrisy.

      • How does someone like this keep getting into positions of public trust? How did she get on the school board?
        She looks like a demented Pit Bull…

  • Unfortunately McGraw has a long history of shady business dealings and entitlement mentality. It should have been apparent to all Gainesville voters after she was removed from office last time.

  • It is ironic that Diyonne McGraw did not want to speak to anyone at the Planning Department, and that she was going straight to the top and speak with the Mayor Harvey Ward, is truly ironic indeed. It’s ironic because it appears to be her modus operandi; she displayed similar behavior last year, when dealing with a Customer Service Representative with Gainesville Regional Utility. This happened because Dioyonne was wanting to jump in front of the line, in front of other businesses (when GRU has a policy of first come first served) to get her “Commercial Building” served. When the Customer Service Rep. informed Diyonne of the policy, she because billegerent, accosted and cursed out the young women is also happens to be Black.

    Diyonne went out of her way to get the young woman at GRU fired, for doing her job and following policy and treating everyone fairly. Diyonne appears a Special Persons Syndrome, because she immediately called Tony Cunningham and the former Mayor Lauren Poe, trying to get the young woman fired. So it would appear does not like rules, processes, or even structure; and when she does not get her way she whines and complains like the bad behavior she claims to want to remedy.

    Maybe she should learn how to read a map, because her behavior is very lackluster. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH for your behavior of beating developmentally challenged children, having homes that are not good neighbors, and your inability to read a map. The Enough is Enough Acdemy should start in your businesses, you lack of ethics, your inablility to accept responsability for anything.

    So yea Enough is Enough!

  • She will keep doing whatever she wants, as long as our gutless administrators grant her a victim card.

    • Now that sir, is the bottom line. She couldn’t act like a cross between a tank and a Pit Bull (she even looks like one) if she wasn’t allowed to. So glad I live in the country and don’t have kids in school…

  • Diyonne and Brooksie- think about it. You’ve been told time after time by officials that you can’t, but you insist on doing it anyway. You’ve got the neighbors riled up (and they have every right to be) and you complain that they yelled at you. [shrugging shoulders here in addition to rolling eyes] So who’s in the wrong? [can I roll my eyes again?]

  • What is wrong with some people and their noisy nighttime incessant outdoor events? If you want to make noise, keep it indoors and close windows and doors.

  • Somebody’s privilege is showing. Sorry to tell you lady, but you’re not special.

  • A fine example of her community. A role model for the children of her community. NOT! She is supporting the disrespect, violence, and lack of morals and education that prevent her community from achieving equality with all of the other communities in our country.

  • “This article is nothing but click-bait.”

    Maybe Brooksie needs to spend less time online and more time on her “process of updating the Sunbiz documents.”

    Will the magistrate accept Brooksie’s claim as a defense for the multiple offenses?

    Is there one zoning code or a code of many colors?

  • What is the correct zoning if she wants to have after hour events or “a small events center”?

  • Lizzo don’t care. And if you disagree with Lizzo, then you are most definitely a racist.

  • I am shocked and appalled that Diyonne McGraw would do something like this. Said no one in Alachua County.

  • Yeah, some of these politicians should be investigated.

    “The long-kept secret of who funded an independent candidate’s campaign to help ensure Republican state Sen. Keith Perry retained office has finally come to light.

    Last week, the Miami Herald reported receiving a trove of documents, including emails, texts and financial records, showing that Florida Power and Light, one of the state’s largest utility providers, was behind a nonprofit that bankrolled $200,000 in dark money for former Gainesville city commissioner Charles Goston’s state Senate run.

    FPL and Goston’s campaign had one mission: siphon votes from Democratic challenger and University of Florida physician Kayser Enneking. Doing so would give Perry the needed edge in a closely contested race that would help ensure Republicans kept control of the Florida Senate.

    It worked.

    Perry narrowly won his re-election campaign by about 2,000 votes, while Goston, a longtime Democrat-turned NPA, pulled about 4,300 votes.

    The Gainesville Sun’s award-winning coverage of the 2018 race showed that Republicans working on Perry’s campaign also coordinated dark money mailers and TV ads in the Democratic primary race, in an effort to pin candidate Olysha Magruder against their client. When that didn’t work, Goston’s campaign saw a sudden influx of cash from similar sources, as well as GOP operatives.

    In one instance, Gainesville-based political consulting firm Data Targeting, which Perry used for campaign advertising, paid for records from UF on behalf of Goston. Those records were then used in an ethics complaint against Enneking, which was dismissed….

    But federal and state laws forbid the corporation from using other people to use “straw donors” in its name. Nonprofits also are not allowed to primarily engage in politics, which in this case it almost entirely did….”

    Gee, I wonder why Perry supports Clemons attempt to screw Gainesville,and take over GRU?

    Read much more at https://www.gainesville.com/story/news/2022/08/14/florida-power-light-dark-money-2018-state-senate-race/10277503002/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_The_Gainesville_Sun

    • great info. Why are so many here not recognizing what happened? Only 4 likes.

      • Maybe because the comment is one sided and it called the Gainesville rag award winning. The comment totally ignores the daily abuse of our political system by Democrats, from the top down, to Harvey ‘the clown’ Ward.

    • Keith Perry? Mr. Perfect Himself?

      The guy who believes that every word in the bible is the literal truth has issues with not following laws?

      Shocked. I am shocked.

    • Maybe you can write a country song about poor Kayser Enneking and how she lost the election. She certainly sent out plenty mailers of her own and had an opportunity to get her leftist message out. Maybe it was her appearance, her weird name which means Caesar, and/or being part of the medical and UF establishment. Or just her leftist progressive message itself. I’m glad we have Kat. She is a treasure. You could write a country song about Disney, too.

      • Too bad you can’t read Mr Peabody. You wouldn’t have missed how Perry cheated to barely squeak by and was helped in that effort by FPL, who also cheated. When is the Governor’s election police going to pick them up, or throw them on the pavement?

        By the way, there was some other news item recently that about Perry carrying FPL water on GRU. What was that and why in the world would he do that?

      • Typical Republicans. Can’t win fair and square so they try to manipulate the rules and cheat. See also: Clemons. Trump. DeSanctimonious.

    • This comment should be a separate entry based on its own content.

      Ms. McGraw’s business practices, obvious privileges with city elected leaders, and thumbing her nose at local authority who work for those elected leaders, has nothing to do with Perry.

      She wants to be a recognized leader for ACPS student discipline at SBAC board meetings, while privately operating, or at least condoning, illegal parties after being notified by law enforcement and Codes Office to cease.

      The removal of her hearing certainly gives one the impression she has (once again) paid a visit to her friends in high places within Gnv CC. I guess the rest is TBD!

    • Thank you Florida power and light for helping keep a good man in office
      Also thank you jaz for bringing this to light i will send them a email thanking them also

    • Enneking was blowing hot Dem air like Gillum. Would have been useless in Tally. We cannot do “Medicaid expansion” when the Wall is unfinished. Hence the recent ban on illegals going to the ER, just look at California. You want Florida turning Blue, just move to LAlaland and see how long you stay.

      • The article about Perry is a Rorschach test and many of you failed.

        Knee jerk racism and liberal bashing by most here, supposed “conservatives” who want more big government if it comes from Tallahassee, ignore and excuse the criminal cheating by their own leaders who wouldn’t even be in office if they hadn’t. These are the same leaders who punish Gainesville and Alachua County – see last years state budget which withholds incentive awards for school performance from any districts that challenged DeSantis’s ignorant Covid rules. Both Clemons and Perry voted for that, and now want to take away a citizen owned utility to be run by Ron Napoleon from Tally, who will have the power to sell it off to FPL. That’s the company that illegally helped Perry “win”, and he knew it. He’s paying them back now in broad daylight and many of you are too dense to see it or too corrupt to care. “Tally, please make those mean democratic men stop it! Please Daddy! We can’t win a fair election.”

  • WTF now the “Special Magistrate Hearing” took this issue off the agenda…maybe she is privileged…

  • It’s her property and she can do with at as she pleases. If neighbors don’t like it, too bad. They can move.

    • Good, when your next door neighbor has music blasting at 4 a.m. keep your big mouth shut and deal. It’s their property they can do as they please.

      You are so ignorant, ever hear of noise laws? I’m so glad you and your kind don’t live near me.

  • Neighborly and community conscious? Why doesn’t mayor Ward come mediate this? Fletchers closed but the crowds moved into Oakview.

  • “The City has not yet provided an explanation for the removal of the agenda item.”

    In a world of transparency truth is easy. It takes more time to write fiction.

  • Grade F: Does not follow directions.

    Grade F: Does not get along with others.

  • I live on the affected street “Brought into compliance.” Riiiiiight. They put up a fence. On the night of April 11th, we still had people parked up and down our street.
    We’re not asking much. We want them to stop turning our street into a parking lot (there’s no way for emergency vehicles to get through when the cars take up half the street), stop parking on our lawns and driveways without even asking, and, at the very least, turn down the music and lights. Trash and litter get thrown all over the place after these events. We’re a residential street. Some basic decency and respect of our property would be nice!
    A city commissioner is a friend and sorority sister of the owner. City officials and leaders have attended these events and it’s made GPD reluctant to do anything to disperse the events when they get too loud or when they occur after hours. I’m tired of people roaming our street at midnight to find their cars and waking everyone up. There’s corruption at play here and honestly, all we want is our residential street to be residential, not a parking lot without notice or the decency of them asking if they can park all over our property.

    • Your request sounds entirely reasonable and if the situation does not change, GPD should be arresting people, public office holders or not.

  • Typical example of the good old system. Get your hand caught in the cookie jar, quickly and of course under the radar bring yourself back in compliance so hearing goes away. Wait for a short time and repeat till you get caught again. She has a history just like other politicians in the county, ie Colvis Watson. The thing people overlook is that she committed the infractions on purpose because she thought she would get away with it. What’s next school board gonna pay for a butt lift.

  • They had another event today (April 15th 2023). Getting really tired of this.

  • Anyone of us can go to the Alachua County Clerk of Court website and type in this lovely upstanding citizen’s name. Oh no surprises here, this has been going on forever. Bad checks, fighting with cops, etc etc Nothing new here to think she can take over the parties that the American Legion foolishly used to host where a couple kids shot some of the others there and weed was so strong – drugs, drinking, guns, and minors. All just another day and I have been told that is a cultural thing? Just check it out for yourself – so you can learn some history of a twice elected Alachua County School Board Member – yes the one wearing $6,000 outfits. https://www.alachuaclerk.org/court_records/index.cfm?section=casehist

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