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Cuba and the Cafes

Nelson Cuba, Allied Veterans and Internet Cafes

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The unfolding scandal revolving around Allied Veterans' Internet cafes that has ensnared Nelson Cuba of the FOP and caused Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign is staggering. Arguably, it is the worst scandal in Jacksonville's political scene since consolidation. And we can expect more consequences. A few questions:

• Knowing what we know now, how was it that Sheriff John Rutherford allowed these Internet cafes to stay open, year after year, amidst the FDLE investigation?

• How was it that Nelson Cuba was allowed to stay at FOP, as an advocate for peace officers? Was there no worry of lost credibility?

• Is Jennifer Carroll's political career over?

• How will this affect Rick Scott as governor?

• Finally, what does this say about how easy it is to take privatized gambling profits and funnel them to shady ends?

There are those who would like to see more legalized gambling locally. We have poker rooms, lotteries and casinos within a few hours drive. What has been proven, and will be proven, in the sordid case of Nelson Cuba and the Allied Veterans, is that any time serious money flows, serious corruption follows.

The big losers in this case, obviously, are Cuba, Carroll and Rutherford, who will probably not be a factor in any elections going forward.

The big winner — so far, at least — Alvin Brown, whose opposition from Cuba over police pensions burnishes his outsider status. Brown's tenure as mayor hasn't been exactly thrilling to his young supporters, but if he is clear of any taint from this scandal, his reelection is almost assured.

Aren't these interesting times?

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