Joe Peppers, the CEO of the Kids Hope Alliance who penned an explosive memo that surfaced this week alleging senior members of Mayor Lenny Curry’s office pressured him to steer grant money to preferred applicants, was placed on administrative leave Thursday because he is the subject of an investigation by the Jacksonville Inspector General’s office.
Peppers received notification in a letter from Brian Hughes, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer. Hughes is one of the officials Peppers accused of exerting “undue influence” on him during a meeting last September.
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City spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton said details of the investigation are confidential and that she couldn’t provide any more information.
Peppers said in an interview that he wanted to speak with his attorney before commenting on the investigation, but that he believes politics were interfering with KHA’s core mission of helping at-risk children.
“I’d like to say that working for the Kids Hope Alliance was a blessing,” he said. “I wanted to be a champion for kids who went through what I went through.”