July 29, 2015

Federal Charges in Jaxport Case

Cynthia Barnett | 3/1/2010
Tony Nelson Former port Chairman Tony Nelson leaves the federal courthouse in Jacksonville in January. [Photo: Florida Times-Union/Rick Wilson]

Federal officials charged Tony Nelson, former chairman of the Jacksonville Port Authority, in a 44-count indictment that claims he demanded more than $100,000 in bribery payments from a contractor.

Frank Bernardino, a former South Florida Water Management District official who was founder of the Tallahassee lobbying firm Wren Group, was also charged. The indictment charges that Bernardino and Nelson created a sham contract showing Nelson was consulting for Wren but that monthly payments of $8,500 were instead being funneled through Bernardino on behalf of the dredging contractor, Lance Young of Orlando-based Subaqueous Services, who is cooperating with the feds.

The charges include conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud, bribery and making a false statement to the FBI. The government is seeking forfeiture of $935,000 from Nelson and Bernardino and an additional $50,000 from Nelson.

Tags: Politics & Law, Northeast, Government/Politics & Law

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