9 Investigates

Testimony begins in federal probe of charity connected to Rep. Corrine Brown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A grand jury is meeting this week to determine if there will be more criminal charges in the federal investigation into a bogus charity, with ties to U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.

9 Investigates uncovered One Door for Education collected nearly $1 million from donors, who thought they were funding scholarships.

Investigative reporter Daralene Jones spoke to one donor after he testified in front of the grand jury in Jacksonville.

The attorney and former state lawmaker told jurors he thought he was donating money to a legitimate group raising money for scholarships.

“They were asking about charitable contributions that I made,” said Steve Pajcic.

At least a dozen donors were set to testify Wednesday alone.

Federal prosecutors are digging into One Door for Education, a Virginia-based organization that claimed to be a nonprofit raising money for disadvantaged student scholarships.

Its director, Carla Wiley, took a plea deal last week and documents said she admitted to conspiring with an "unnamed public official" and one of the official’s employees.

Brown has not been named as a target of this federal investigation, but she is a supporter of One Door for Education and was pictured on the front page of its website with Wiley.

9 Investigates uncovered invitations for One Door for Education fundraisers sent to city of Orlando employees.

The fundraisers were hosted by Brown and bear her signature and the U.S. House seal.

“You know you always want it to work out well when you make charitable contributions and if it doesn't, it is concerning,” said Pajcic.

Hank Coxe, an attorney representing one of Brown's former staffers, Von Alexander, wouldn't answer any questions.

“I'm not going to answer any questions, period. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but I can't,” Coxe said.

The grand jury proceedings will continue Thursday.

Brown has not commented.