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Congressional Candidate Accused of Funneling Cash from Non-Profit to Campaign

Congressional candidate Chris Nwasike, one of three Republicans attempting to unseat Congresswoman Corrine Brown this year, tells voters that he is the right person to take his district in a new direction.

Prior to launching his Congressional campaign in April, Nwasike was the driving force behind a March event called Keep God in America, a rally organized under the umbrella of a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised to help put on the event, with the largest single contribution coming as a $5,000 donation from W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractors.

Other prominent leaders and organizations gave financially or lent their names to Keep God in America, including First Coast Tea Party organizers Billie Tucker and Carole McManus, Jacksonville City Councilman Clay Yarborough and several talk or Christian music radio stations. The rally’s website even features video interviews and endorsements from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia.

However, The Jacksonville Observer has learned that several of Nwasike’s former partners from Keep God in America are now raising questions over how some of the money donated to the rally was spent. The Observer has obtained documents showing that the rally’s treasurer, Jay Fields, was also acting as the Nwasike campaign’s treasurer until recently.

Acting on instructions from Nwasike, Fields issued a $2,000 check to his wife, Jorgine, for “services rendered” on April 28, 2010. That same day, Jay Fields also made a $2,000 contribution to the Nwasike campaign.

Nwasike’s campaign consultant, Bert Ralston, charges that the checks are not related and that no wrongdoing has occurred.

“This is nothing but a political smear job by people that are supporting one of Chris Nwasike’s opponents in the primary,” said Ralston. “The people spreading these lies are doing so because they were denied funds from Keep God in America to advertise on their now defunct radio show.”

Chris Nwasike, candidate for Congress

Nwasike’s partners in Keep God in America, Jerod Powers and Raymond Johnson, previously hosted a weekly radio program on ABC 1320 WBOB.

“Furthermore, Chris did not sign any checks,” Ralston adds. “He did not have the authority to do so.”

Powers and Johnson refute the notion that they are motivated by sour grapes over an advertising arrangement gone bad.

“Initially we did send him [Nwasike] a proposal for advertising,” said Powers. “When he responded that there wasn’t sufficient money in the budget for it, we still had him on the program several times as a guest, we had every speaker at the event on as a guest, and we also provided significant amounts of advertising for W.W. Gay. Ultimately, we gave the event thousands of dollars worth of advertising for free.”

In addition to the $2,000 check, several hundred dollars from the Keep God in America account were also used to pay business expenses for Jay Fields, who is a handyman. The charges were made to Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, Sherwin Williams, Wal-Mart and other retail outlets.

Keep God in America funds were used for this purpose because Fields was experiencing financial hardship and Nwasike authorized him to dip into the account to cover his personal bills. Though it is not immediately clear how much of that money has been repaid to Keep God in America, the fact that Fields was in such dire financial straits calls the legitimacy of his $2,000 campaign contribution into serious question.

Jay and Jorgine Fields

Making matters worse, at the time the $2,000 check was given to Jorgine Fields, Keep God in America was still carrying several thousand dollars in unpaid bills.

When pressed to explain why the contribution was returned to Fields after questions were raised by the media, Ralston responds that the whole matter “had become a distraction to the campaign. It was in the best interests of the campaign, for Mr. Fields and all involved to move on.”

Ralston maintains that Fields was intended to serve only as a temporary treasurer for the campaign, and that his replacement by Marcus Brooks had nothing to do with the questionable movement of money from Keep God in America.

The $2,000 contribution was returned to Fields on June 30 and he was replaced as Treasurer on July 5, more than two months after the campaign account was originally opened.

Nwasike was formerly employed by Wachovia, but left that position to run full-time as a candidate for U.S. Congress in April.  He was founder of the now defunct Duval County Young Republicans and was appointed by Mayor Peyton to the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund's Board of Directors.  Nwasike is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the entity, which is responsible for watching over the use of millions of dollars in public funds to provide capital for project development in some of Jacksonville's poorest neighborhoods.

55 Responses »

  1. anybody who knows or has had ANY dealings with chris nwasike is totally unsurprised by this.

    • We know and have had dealings with Chris, Jay, Jorgine, and Marcus. They are all outstanding, patrotic Americans. This sounds like political/personal sour grapes and back stabbing to us.

  2. Sounds like innuendo and sour grapes to me. Chris is an outstanding young man.

  3. This story is frivolous, containing the unfortunate elements and rhetoric that plagues our society as a whole. This splendid gentleman is nothing more than a victim of the establishment. A fine Christian citizen whom has risen to the cause, with a strong conviction to serve his community with integrity and merit. This is regrettable that he must endure these vile attacks and baseless accusations which sole intent is to tarnish his reputation; as a community what else can we expect when one's platform is Pro-God, Pro-Family and Pro-Constitutional rights. The threatened resort to these tactics to prey on peoples fear.

  4. Typical political hatchet job and not done very well.

    Take a look at the link below to Johnson and Powers' web site and watch the video of Powers making a delivery on behalf of one of Nwasike's primary opponents.

    http://www.wethepeopleonevoice.com/

  5. Nwasike should step down from this Congressional race IMMEDIATELY. If this is what can be expected from him as a candidate, then what can be expected IF he gets elected. Ethics are already in question and NOTHING less than stepping down would suffice.

    He may indeed be "innocent", but unless a full investigation and all the facts fully revealed in the daylight, Mr. Nwasike MUST do what is right here and step aside from this race, suspend ALL campaign activity and no longer seek this office. No amount of denial should be sufficient to make this go away without FACTS from an independent source that says "no wrong committed".

    I guess this is what happens when people run for office seeking the POWER of the position. "New name- new direction"?? It is just more of the same and the SAME THING Rep. Corrine Brown has been doing for decades.

    Coming from a financial background, this makes it appear less than an innocent mistake. As member of Congress, Mr. Nwasike would be spending YOUR taxes. REALLY....it this what you want?? The citizens of District 3 deserve honestly and integrity, not "business as usual".

    • From my read of the article no one is claiming that any laws have been broken.

      Well over a month ago Dean Black's supporters began talking about this going as far as to claim that the State Attorney's Office was investigating. Mr. Cassidy seems to be a pretty solid reporter and I bet he checked into whether that had happened or not.

      • Let me clue you in that it is against Federal Election Law to give money to an individual to give to a Federal Campaign under that individual's name. Not to mention, it is against the law to misappropriate money from a non-profit.

    • The American Way is "Innocent until proved guilty!!!!! Please don't forget that.

  6. Livning in the district has caused me to follow all of these candidates closely. I have "friended" all of the candidates on Facebook and read this story because one of the other people in the race is blasting it all over Facebook. I am still trying to figure out what laws were broken. Does it look bad, Sure. The story does not claim that any laws have been broken and the alleged agrieved parties have not claimed so.

    This looks like another nasty, negative attack from a desperate candidate that can't build himself up so instead chooses to tear his opponant down. Whoever is behind this should be ashamed of themselves.

  7. The Duval County Young Repulbicans were founded over forty years ago and count as past members at least three former chairman of the Duval County Republican Executive Committee, a former Chairmen of the Republican Party of Florida, several past Florida Young Republican Presidents as well as numerous current and former elected officials. Since they were founded before Mr. Nwasike was born, it is difficult to see how he could have "founded" the club.

    When I was at the monthly meeting a few weeks ago they did not appear, as the author of this article states, "defunct."

    So by my count, this equates to two major factual errors in one sentance and really makes me question the journalistic abilities of the author and the veracity of the article.

    • Past organizations have used the DCYR name, but the most recent incarnation is the organization Mr. Nwasike co-founded. That DCYR has had their club's charter revoked by the Florida Young Republicans. The Jacksonville Young Republicans continue to exist and meet actively.

  8. This is sad - as an African-American Democrat voter who has flirted with changing parties, some in the party are using a couple of naive so-called Christians to do thier dirty work. Starting with Jennifer Carroll to Don Foy to Glorious Johnson and now to Chris Nwasike, it appears there is no tolerance or support for African-American candidates. This media outlet has never even mentioned that there is an official Federal Elections Commission investigation into one of the candidates in this race as reported by the Times-Union but will run a story that is being pushed by that same candidate's supporters. Pretty sad and no wonder why the GOP here in Jax will not successful in getting more blacks into the party.

    • First of all Jennifer Carroll is one of the most honest, hard working representatives in this state and is a true Republican. She has fought hard to make Florida a better state for everyone.

      Duval County Republicans have been leaders in supporting and welcoming "African-Americans" into the party. Sam Newby (Duval REC second vice chairman) has been a true leader in these efforts and should be commended for his work .

      It has been very difficult to encourage people of any race to join the republican party that has spent years listening to the democrats convince them they are worth nothing more than a welfare check or that they are not capable of being successful so they must take so called "free stuff" from the government. (health care, cell phones, endless unemployment).

      Democrats don't care about race or even making anyone's life better, all they want is for you to be dependent on them. POWER. plan and simple. The democrats have known where the struggling family's are in this country for more than 40 years. And have been in control several times over the years. (They controlled the house and senate under Bush) and have done absolutely nothing to help them. NOTHING! Just keep voting for them and you will always have that carrot in front of you. Worst of all you will always be dependent on them.

    • Oh and by the way - I don't care what color you are, if you commit a crime you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and should expect a free pass because of your race. (Arizona)

    • Whenever I see a Democrat say they were going to vote Republican, but have changed their mind; I'm dubious.Whatever the outcome of this situation, race certainly has nothing to do with it. This is a cop-out for weak minds.

      I say let the investigation move forward, the truth will come out. Those who are guilty should face the consequences of their crimes. Those who are not should retain their honor.

      To Democrats, or anyone else who takes a side based on skin color I say they are shallow.
      For those who use the Bible as their guide, I would remind them that God looks at the heart of a man; anyone using another criteria (including skin color) thinks they are better than God Himself: and that makes that person a fool.

  9. @Austin Please don't attack Republican organizations so happlessly. I thought you were a Republican, and supported Republican causes? The Young Republicans are vital to the existance of our Party and the YRs are not "defunct." Please do not try to discourage people from participating in the YRs.

    @Patriotlady what happened to "innocent til proven guiltly?" If every candidate stepped down as soon as someone accussed them of anything we would never have elections. Cool your horses, and cool your head. If he did something wrong let the Legal system work its way. Until then let the voters decide if they want this guy or someone else.

    All of that being said I think it doesn't sound good. I hate to see the Republican name get dragged through the mud in a vital election year. If there is truely wrong doing I hope that Law does what it is supposed to.

    • I don't believe Austin said that the YR's in general are defunct. There were 2 organizations in Jacksonville. The Duval YR's and the Jax YR's.. The Jax YR's of which I'm a member have over 100 members and from what I understand the Duval YR's haven't met in months and had their charter suspended by the state. I happen to be a member of the JYR's and agree that we are vital for the party and Jacksonville.. Come join us on Monday for our next meeting! We're the absolute opposite of defunct.. but I can't say the same for Nwasike. Shame on him for trying to ruin the YR name.

  10. As a young Republican, I attended many meeting of the Duval Young Republicans and got to meet this man several times. He was very personable and friendly one on one and I kept coming back because I liked him. But as I went to more and more meetings I was totally appalled at the way he ran the meetings. He was rude, bullying and disrespectful. He cut members off when they'd ask tough questions of politicians. And he didn't so much run the meetings as he ruled them. I was not surprised to see him announce he was running for office several months later. He was clearly using the club to propel his own agenda.

    That's why I was so glad to see a different group of people start a new club called the Jacksonville Young Republicans. I've gotten to meet so many candidates at these meetings and I have never felt uncomfortable.

    I don't know if these allegations are true, but if they are, they are just further evidence that this man wants nothing more than to be powerful. We've got enough of those types of people already.

  11. Vote for Mike Yost, the only guy running that refuses corporate contributions so he will not owe them any favors. http://yostforcongress.com/

    • lol RLC yost

      • RLC has it right on this one. I am telling ya. I have NEVER volunteered on any campaign before and never really liked any of them. Mike is a great person who knows the district. He understands the needs and has a written solid plan to get District 3 prosperous again.Not a smooth talker but logical and solid. He has his stuff together-go meet him! This district will be better for it.

  12. can anyone say embezzlement from a non profit to a campaign lol last i heard even martha stewart got drug down for embezzlement

  13. As a 30 year REC member, I know these three gentlemen in question. Chris, Raymond and Jerod. I have known Raymond and Jerod for literally YEARS. These two boys are truly good Christian men who have dedicated almost every waking extra hour they have to God and good Conservative Christian candidates.

    I have also watched Chris since he showed up a mere year ago. I, like many people, were thrilled when I first met Chris. Here we had a young, attractive, Conservative, Christian family man who was ready to step into leadership and be the next generation of local Republican leaders. I admit, the fact that he was black was also highly appealing to me. In a post 2008 election, the GOP needs good Conservative black candidates.

    But much as Obama has disappointed liberals, Chris has disappointed me, and the entire local GOP. He has proven to be a spotlight hog. Doing little work and taking all the credit. In a discussion of faith in politics last year at Edward Waters College, I watched him make a fine young man do all the grunt work, show up as the event started and then proceeded to take all the credit, not once publicly thanking this young man who actually organized the event. There are many stories like this, but suffice it to say, Chris has revealed his true self. This young man is a self-serving, power hungry, unscrupulous person, who clearly wants to run for Congress, not because he wants to help the people of District 3, but because he likes the way “Congressman” sounds before his own name.

    • I agree Paul! During planning for the Keep God in America event, I heard from and knew what the organizers were doing to get that thing going. Shortly after the event, I head that Chris showed up,slid in as speaker of not only the TEA party, but the Keep God in America event. I remember one of the organizers at our First Coast TEA 1st Birthday party discussing how the bills had not been paid yet and was concerned about what was going on. One of the guys wasn't sure it would go on. I overheard general talk about it and don't remember the details-just sounded like a desperate situation.

      On another note, during one of the debates, Nwasike spit out the ole "you don't know anything about what we [as a black family] go through and he wanted to help cure that. That guy had a suit on more expensive than my livingroom furniture set. Trust me: He doesn't know what I go through. Besides, sounds like redistribution to me. Of course, I believe in all people being treated right but quite sick of people ordering others to pay up because of the color of our skin. District three is diverse and we need a representative who will look at the issues and not do "favors" or help a specific group of people, while others hurt. We have one who does that and her name is Corrine Brown. Those of you in District 3-ask yourself this: In the past 15 years, has there been any growth? What new industry was brought in because of our rep? What is our quality of life, compared to just one district over? What percentage live in lower income housing? Where is all the industry for our area? Parks? ---she wants a train, for gosh sake---
      I don't know if Nwasike did this or not but several different situations sure make it seem like there is a problem.

  14. When I read Jerod and Raymond's names in this article I just knew that at some point it would be about the two of them trying to get paid. I have volunteered on campaigns in this city for over 20 years and for the last five every time someone raises a little money for their campaign, here they come looking for a check. As they are both in the lawn maintenance business, it gets especially bad in the winter months when neither have much to do. When a candidate that they have approached turns them down they attempt to do what they are doing to Mr. Nwasike.

    I do not know Mr. Nwasike other than having met him a few times at candidate forums. He seems nice and probably has made mistakes as we all have. I feel sorry for him that he trusted these two and I am certain that he regrets the day they met.

    • Raymond is actually a nice young man, he just lets Jarod push him around. Jarod on the other hand is quite unhinged and is rarely invited to sit at the adult table.

    • >When a candidate that they have approached turns them down they attempt to do what they are doing to Mr. Nwasike.

      This has certainly turned out to be the antithesis. It's pretty obvious that Mr. Nwasike has lived down to his reputation.

  15. Spurts of paperwork trouble for Dean Black
    Submitted by David Hunt on June 22, 2010 - 8:17am

    Death, Taxes & Politics--Florida Times Unin

    Before we get to the critical stuff, we'll make a quick assessment of Dean Black, who's running for Congressional District 3 (U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's seat).

    He has been out and about shaking hands at political events trying to drum up support. He has a fire in his belly when he speaks about the district (that some observers have said can go a bit over the top). And, all in all, he seems to be living the standard candidacy for a political newcomer slugging his way into the ring for a shot at Brown, an 18-year incumbent.

    And he's having fun expressing himself. Click here for some background about his fund-raising effort to send sand bags to Brown.

    But there also seems to be a recurring problem with paperwork.

    First it was the basic candidacy statement. Back in April, opponents were questioning why Black was out talking about running when the State Department did not have him on file. (He's since gotten that straightened out, but in the meantime his campaign manager said filing was tricky, so tricky he'd "rather be dragged naked down a gravel road." No kidding. The quote is a little ways down our Political Notes column. Click here.)

    Some more serious accusations have been leveled with the Federal Elections Commission. A woman from Macclenny (who Black says he's never met and whose phone rang and rang with no answering machine or pickup when DTP tried to reach her) sent a letter to the FEC last month outlining some sticky allegations:

    - Black took $500 corporate donations, a big-time no-no in a federal campaign.

    - Black accepted a nearly $2,400 contribution with no listed source in his campaign funding documents.

    - And he has nearly $10,000 in unreported disbursements.

    An FEC spokesman confirmed that the agency had received the letter, but under policy, he could not speak more about it.

    Black said he had been in contact with the FEC about the corporate checks, but he's already sent those back to the donors, telling them to rip them up and rewrite them in their own names to make the donation legitimate.

    He suspected the letter and the allegations were the work of opponents on the GOP primary election trail.

    • YEP-AND i happened to look up his record and noticed it. I tried to call the radio show a few months ago and have him answer for it-they would not take my call. Dean Black was put here by the Republican party-they thought he would make a good candidate but he has turned out to be a nice man with some strange ideas. I was turned off at him not listening to details and oddly answering questions that were not asked. He would go on and on with standard cliche' type answers. Sometimes we would not even be sure what he was talking about.
      He doesn't like the idea of States Rights. Notice how he harps on the UNITED STATES of America. Of course, we are united but also have our own unique way in each state. He doesn't know very much about district 3 at all. Great guy as far as dedicated to family and he loves his country. He runs a successful auto business-some of those get bad reports but that is to be expected.

  16. 2,000 from nonprofit to wife of treasurer to campaign. Any clear thinking person would investigate this. Thos that would not are the hacks

  17. And. Oh yeah handy man charges paid from not profit. This Bert guy also says Nwasike coould not sign checks. What are we dumb? Nwasike told his treasurer to write and sign a check to his wife. Wake up people the pros are spinning you.

  18. No Fred, dumb is the inability to speak. The word you were looking for is "stupid".

  19. Let me see if I have this straight... a candidate for Congress, a Mr. Chris Nwaseki, who inserted himself into the non-profit organization, "Keep God In America" (KGIA), gains access to it's funds through the organization's treasurer who is also "his" campaign treasurer, allegedly pays the wife of his campaign treasurer $2,000 for "services rendered." Then his treasurer who is a handyman with financial troubles, the husband of the recipient of the $2,000 turns around the same day and contributes $2,000 to Mr. Nwaseki's campaign?! Mr. Nwaseki's campaign consultant, suggests that the two checks are unrelated?

    I'm sorry but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, unless it is a redneck it is a duck!

    Now, let us turn to the second allegation. It revolves around several hundred dollars from "KGIA" a non-profit organization, going to the handyman, treasurer of both that non-profit organization who is the treasurer of of Mr. Nwaseki's congressional campaign. The question here is, with outstanding bills to be paid by KGIA why is Mr. Nwaseki authorizing checks to be cut to construction retailers for his "handyman" treasurer before paying those bills?

    Mr. Nwaseki's campaign consultant admits that the expenditure from KGIA to his handyman were questionable but tries to muddy the water by calling the organizers of KGIA disgruntled former radio talk show hosts who didn't get paid for their having provided Mr. Nwaseki air time on their radio show.

    But this argument doesn't hold water because not only Mr. Nwaseki, but other candidates, "were" given "free" air time despite not having contracts for payments.

    And finally we come to the question of the $2,000 that was returned to his, now former campaign treasurer.... Was that money actually from the treasurer's wife who received payment for services rendered" to KGIA? And what was the service or services rendered?

    These questions need to be looked into by the Federal Elections Commission and answered. If any criminal wrongdoing is found, those responsible need to be prosecuted. At this point it is too late for the FEC to take up the matter before the primary and thus to have Mr. Nwaseki remove his name from the ballot even though it would be the right thing to do to announce that he is suspending his campaign because if he were to be the party nominee he would carry this baggage into the general election and Ms Brown the Democratic incumbent and the lame stream media, would destroy him with it.

    Mr. Nwaseki need to answer some very serious charges and clear this matter before he asks us to entrust him with trillions of our tax dollars.

  20. Well you sure are a big man slinging allegations about someone you do not know while hiding behind a fake name. I bet you feel real good about yourself while you are cleaning out the grease trap at the burger joint every day.

  21. HAHA! Well, I'll be. Looks like ol' Crooked Chris has finally gotten himself into some newsworthy trouble. Now that everyone in the Jacksonville area knows to steer clear of him, it's likely he'll try and move his game up to a new level to reach a more naive crowd.

  22. It is Mr. Johnson’s right as the bank account holder to ask questions as well as receive answers to the questions concerning his account. If Mr. Nwasike and Mr. Fields had answered the questions from the start there may not have been the continual growing suspicion of wrong doing.

    It is sad that so many people think that they know Mr. Johnson so well yet there comments display just how little they truly know about him.

    Raymond Johnson is a good man who gives of his time, heart and trust. It sounds to me as if he trusted the wrong people.

  23. I want to gradulate Chris fo him trying to run fo congress. I be thinkin that you Republicans be a bunch of racists. Dats why you be running 2 white peoples against Chris.

    It dont matta cuz I be votin fo Ms. Brown any ways!

    Go Gatas!

    ---Corrine B.----

  24. I know Chris and all of the comments about him being someone that shows up at the last minute to take the glory are correct. What that district needs is someone that will get down in the trenches and get their hands dirty and get things done. Chris is not that person, if elected the only time you will see him will be when a camera crew is around. And as far Jerod and Raymond the two of them are good people and if they truly wanted to hurt Chris this story would have been made public a long time ago.

  25. All are innocent until proven guilty. If that an investigation reveals embezzlement than the guilty party should be persecuted to the maximum. The State Attorney should maximizes their efforts against Mr. Nwasike to see that if his actions are innocent or guilty. It is a shame that a so called Political Christian Candidate would raise such a dishonest situation thru the involvement with a Christaian organization.

    • "There are those who counter that a person is innocent until proven guilty: I agree, but I also understand that character isn’t always a legal issue. It is, however, a factor in deciding who best represents a constituency, a political party, and leads a Country. When a politician leaves distrust and discord in his wake, it’s a good indication that politician has character issues. When one leaves that impression, then is caught in a scandal where the innocent-minded are taken advantage of: it illustrates that person isn’t what the re-focused Republican Party stands for."

      http://www.jaxobserver.com/morninginamerica/2010/08/04/transpareny-as-a-requirement/

  26. Sounds like Mr Nwasike knew what he was doing and managed to manipulate his will and way by steering non profit funds to his campaign. It seems to me a crooked politician that has abused other people in the past has finally messed with the wrong people and his evil crooked ways are coming to light. Enough of these self serving politicians.

    Mr Nwasike, withdraw, go home and get a job and get of politics and relegion anywhere near the state of Florida.

  27. I'm a little late to the conversation but think it is kind of funney that all of these folks are calling for some sort of an investigation. Dean Black's people have been saying for two months that Nwasike is under investigation, so I called a friend of mine at the State Attorney's office who told me that they are not investigation because as far as they could tell no laws had been broken.

  28. hey new developments with the case i just found this on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XtL4Q6aCq8

  29. I did talk to Chris, he assured me that he'd spoken to Austin Cassidy, and I now understand that isn't true.

  30. Wondering where the Nwasike supporters went. Hiding?

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