The Alvin Brown campaign has distanced itself from the endorsement of Zakee Fur’qan, who apparently changed his name from Leon Edward Nelson, who was convicted of second-degree murder and felony-level robbery.
This past month Brown’s campaign touted Fur’qan’s endorsement. On Friday, though, it had scrubbed all mention of Fur’qan from the mayor’s campaign’s website and issued a statement condemning Fur’qan/Nelson’s actions.
In 1991, Nelson was convicted of second-degree murder. He was released in 1998. In 2000, Leon Edward Nelson changed his name to Zakee Fur’qan, as part of a conversion to Islam. Nelson’s record with the Department of Corrections, including a photo, as well as court documents related to Nelson’s name change request, are attached to this report.
Fur’qan was arrested again in 2008. According to an Oct. 17, 2008, Florida Times-Union report, which also references the name change, Fur’qan was implicated in a theft of Rooms to Go of two trucks loaded with furniture. He and an accomplice turned themselves in after they saw themselves in a television report.
Since then Fur’qan has been active in Florida Democratic politics, having contributed $1,500 in 2012 to Friends of Corrine Brown.
Under his current name, he registered to vote in 2004. A convicted felon, it’s not clear at this time whether Furqan had his voting rights restored. An inquiry has been made to the Florida Division of Elections.
Florida Politics contacted Fur’qan on his business telephone at Freedom Landscape and Lawn Maintenance for comment. After we told him that we were looking into his political activity, he said he was on another line with someone and released our call. He did not answer repeated subsequent telephone calls. He later sent a text message stating that we had the “wrong person” and we were “trying to reach someone else.”
Meanwhile, the Alvin Brown campaign has removed Fur’qan’s name from its website. Here’s a screen shot of the website before the scrubbing.
“We don’t know this individual, and he has no role whatsoever in our campaign,” Isaiah Nelson, Brown’s campaign manager, said. “There were 48 business owners on this list, contributed by local community organizations. Clearly, he represents exactly the kind of lawbreaker the mayor has zero tolerance for, and we condemn his actions in the strongest possible terms.”
A spokesperson for Brown’s opponent, Lenny Curry, declined to comment other than to insist that none of the information contained in this story came from Curry’s camp.
In addition to the possibility of committing voter fraud, Nelson/Furqan owes the IRS and the Department of Revenue more than $50,000.