Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

A grab bag at the grocery? 

Did city of Orlando mayoral aide Walter Hawkins use his influence in the mostly black Washington Shores community to depress sales at a city-subsidized grocery, so that a nonprofit group affiliated with Hawkins could buy the store more cheaply? That's the allegation that makes Hawkins the latest defendant in a lawsuit linked to the struggling Premier Foods market, and reported in the March 10 Orlando Business Journal.

The corporate parent for Premier Foods, which was lured to Washington Shores with the promise of about $100,000 in economic incentives, filed suit against the city as their business deal soured.

In exchange for its help, the city had called for Premier Foods to sell a 5 percent stake in the store to a neighborhood group. With that condition apparently unmet, the city moved to recover its waived fees. Residents meanwhile called a boycott of the store, and Premier Foods began looking for a buyer.

The amended complaint tries to link Hawkins to the continuing boycott, which presumably would decrease the sale price for potential buyers, including a community group in which Hawkins is an officer, according to OBJ. Hawkins is also alleged to have scared off a prospective Asian buyer. He denies all allegations.

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation