News Pensacola Politics

Jerralds vs. Hawthorne and the Battle Over the GCAACC

March 16, 2012

By the time Pensacola City Councilman John Jerralds called the police, George Hawthorne had summed up the Friday afternoon meeting as “odd” and “ludicrous.”

“George, I’m not gonna play with you,” Jerralds told him.

The councilman was opening up his public meeting concerning the Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce, of which Hawthorne is the chairman. Jerralds, who is not a member of the chamber, had earlier said that he needed to come to its “assistance and resuscitate it.”

Hawthorne said he had learned of the meeting through the press. The GCAACC chairman refused to leave when Jerralds threatened to call the police.

“You’re not gonna make me look like a fool,” Jerralds said.

“You already made yourself look like a fool,” Hawthorne replied.

Eventually a Pensacola Police Officer arrived and Hawthorne stepped into the hallway. The meeting continued, during which citizens discussed, among other things, the role of an African-American chamber of commerce.

The GCAACC chairman stayed in the hallway for a while talking with police, but left Pensacola City Hall before the meeting ended. During the meeting, Jerralds conceded to the gallery’s request to let Hawthorne back in the room, but the chairman did not return.

“I told you it was gonna be fireworks,” Hawthorne said via phone as the meeting continued.

The GCAACC chairman said that he chose to leave rather than “tie up the Pensacola Police Department with this foolishness.”

“He’s mad because I say he’s an ineffective leader and I want somebody to run against him,” Hawthorne said. “That’s what all this is about.”

Hawthorne said he planned to file a complaint next week with the State Attorney’s Office in regards to Jerralds throwing him out of the meeting. He feels that was an abuse of Jerralds’ authority as a city councilman.

In the meeting room, members of the African-American business community talked shop for the full two hours Jerralds had reserved the meeting room.

—check back for the complete story

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  • Tyrone Wicks March 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    So sorry!! So good I had to see it twice!!

    “9.helpmehere says:
    March 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm
    riddle me this – why is the PBACOC required to provide monthly financial statments,an annual audited financial statement and tons of other documentation (as they should as long as they obtain public funding) while the GCAACOC has to provide nothing, nada, zilch? Has anyone asked a simple question such as how many dues paying members do you have? Can I have a copy of your CPA prepared financial statement for 2011? Can we see your budget for 2012? What percentage of your funding is provided by public sources and how much is provided by your members? Let’s put the theatrics aside and get down to the cold, hard facts. Is that too much to ask? If they make basic standards for a non-profit entity accepting public funds”

  • Hiram Duplessis March 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Thanks George for acknowledging that right. However, we have seen this play out before with the GCAACC. You know the old saying “politics make for strange bedfellows.”

  • George Hawthorne March 19, 2012 at 7:57 am


    I respect your opinion however, I assure you that Mr. Jerralds and I have two totally different objectives.

  • Hiram Duplessis March 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

    George, the PBACOC had a Minority Economic Development Committee back in the 90’s, until the GCAACC felt it could do a better job representing minority business interest. Honestly, I believe that this is just a bad acting gig on behalf of you and Mr. Jearlds to draw attention to the financial needs of the GCAACC.

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