The ugly side of business reporting

Not sure whether to categorize this story, that I did for the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 1997, as business journalism or investigatory journalism. Maybe a little of both. I don’t recall very much about it, but I think what happened was this: The Business Journal did an annual Book of Lists, categorizing different businesses according to size. Fort example, ad agencies would be listed on the Ad Agency List page according to their size. I believe this business wanted to be listed in the Book of Lists, and submitted an application. But the numbers in the application resulted in the paper taking a closer look at the business, and this story resulted.

By Arthur Frederick
Staff Writer

A self-described sports promoter who served a federal prison sentence for tax fraud in Hawaii has established a number of businesses in Lakeland in ways that echo his days in the Aloha State.

Elijah Jackson Jr., a one-time Lakeland High School basketball star, was convicted in the late 1980s for trying to gain illicit refunds from the IRS.

He also illegally tried to sell several million dollars’ worth of stock in businesses he owned, an act that elicited fines and two cease-and-desist orders — including one issued this spring — from Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Jackson closed his Hawaii business in 1995, and now operates several Lakeland-based businesses under the name JBS Inc. The businesses include JBS Management Corp., which allegedly provides everything from sports promotions to an escort service; and JBS-Jackson Real Estate Investment Trust, which claims to provide real estate investor services and property management services.

Efforts to reach Jackson were unsuccessful. Calls to his office were picked up by an answering machine.

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