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Mayor on Jags: 'We are going to make mistakes'

Twenty-four hours after the city backed off a threat to cancel the Jaguars' stadium lease, Mayor Alvin Brown calls it a misunderstanding.
/ Source: WJXT-TV

Twenty-four hours after the city backed off a threat to cancel the Jaguars' stadium lease, Mayor Alvin Brown calls it a misunderstanding.

"People know we are going to make mistakes. Things happen. There was a miscommunication. There was a misunderstanding," Brown told Channel 4 late Thursday afternoon.

While the "mistake" may be legally resolved, the fallout from the riff that caused Jaguars owner Shahid Khan to publicly wonder if he needed to find a new place for his NFL team is major.

After publicly and mistakenly embarrassing the Jaguars by claiming the team was in default on its lease of EverBank Field because of its position in the hiring of the management company to manage the stadium when it was not, the city is scrambling to make amends.

Belying the stern tone of a letter to Brown that Khan released on Wednesday, the mayor released a statement Thursday saying the city and the Jaguars never had a dispute.

"We fully support our Jaguars," Brown said. "The Jaguars are an important part of the fabric that makes up our great city."

Khan wasn't talking Thursday, but his letter to the mayor suggested that damage has already been done.

READ THE LETTERS:  City General Counsel's letter to Jaguars president Khan's entire letter to Mayor Brown | Brown's response to Khan | Mayor's letter to Jaguars fans after spat

"The timing of the headline from the city’s media activity could not have been timed worse for our ticket sales effort," Khan wrote. "The comments by City representatives and the story have created uncertainty and concern by our fan base."

When asked Thursday why the city's attorneys were seeking to terminate the Jaguars lease, Brown said it was a misunderstanding "and I got right on top of it."

The issue of what company will manage the stadium and the city's other entertainment venues remains.

Spectacor Management Group, which has had the contract since 1992, is seeking a contract renewal, but a competing bidder, Global Spectrum, employs two of Brown friends, both of whom donated to the mayor's campaign last year.

Brown said he had nothing to do with the city's seeking bids to compete with SMG for the contract.

"People will say those kind of things, but at the end of the day, it's what's right for the taxpayers; what’s right for the city," Brown said.

While the bids for the contract are sealed, Khan said the SMG offer saves the city $1 million.

Sources familiar with the deal say Global Spectrum's bid is 75 percent higher than SMG's. The city says the bids will be made public in mid-June.

A spokesman for SMG wouldn't answer questions about its bid, but released this statement: "SMG has submitted what we believe is a very competitive bid to manage the city’s sports and entertainment facilities and we look forward to the evaluation process continuing to ensure that the taxpayers receive the best value on their investments."

The only numbers the mayor was willing to discuss was the amount of his support for the Jaguars.

"I support the Jags 100 percent," Brown said. "They mean so much to our community."