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Publix heiress who ‘financed Jan. 6 rally with donations totaling $650,000’ faces committee probe

The billionaire Publix heiress who bankrolled the January 6 MAGA rally with donations totaling $650,000 is being investigated by a House committee.

Julie Fancelli, 72, wired the sums from her Tuscan villa, where she grows olives and grapes, to three organizations that staged and promoted the pro-Donald Trump Stop the Steal and Save America protests that turned into the Capitol riots.

The daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins is the largest known donor to the rally and is now facing public scrutiny as the committee probes its financing.

Fancelli, whose sister Carol died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Tuesday, is a big supporter of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and frequently sent friends and family emails with links to his videos in the weeks leading up to the riots and spoke with him on the phone before making the donations.

Jones, who pushed the theory that Trump was a victim of election fraud, also allegedly contributed more than $50,000 in seed money to the event in exchange for a ‘top speaking slot of his choice’.

She donated: 

  • $300,000 to Women for America First
  • $150,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association
  • $200,000 to State Tea Party Express 

Julie Fancelli (pictured in 2019 in Florida), who donated $650,000 to organizers of the January 6 rally, is being probed by a House committee

She wired the money to three organizations that staged and promote the pro-Donald Trump Stop the Steal protests that turned into the Capitol riots (pictured)

She wired the money to three organizations that staged and promote the pro-Donald Trump Stop the Steal protests that turned into the Capitol riots (pictured)

Who did Publix heiress send money to? 

  • $300,000 to Women for America First, a nonprofit which promotes the MAGA agenda and helped organize the Save America Rally on January 6
  • $150,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which aims to elect attorneys general nationally to ‘promote and protect the Constitution, freedom, and opportunity for future generations’. The association paid for a robocall urging Trump supporters to join the January 6 March
  • $200,000 to State Tea Party Express which champions conservative causes. The funds were used for radio and social media advertising for the MAGA rally   

Other donations

  • $1million to a joint account for Trump and the Republican Party in 2019 and 2020
  • $5,800 to Rep. Matthew M. Rosendale from Montana
  • $1,000 to a Lakeland mayoral candidate who still claimed Trump was the rightful president after Biden’s inauguration
  • $800,000 from a company which she serves as director for, to support Republicans in the Georgia runoffs 

Fancelli has given millions to charity through a family foundation and on December 29 last year, she donated $300,000 to Women for America First, $150,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association and $200,000 to State Tea Party Express, the Washington Post reported.

Women for America First is a nonprofit that helped organize the January 6 rally, while the Republican Attorneys General Association paid for a robocall which promoted the march to ‘call on Congress to stop the steal’ of the election.

The donation to the State Tea Party Express was revealed by its consultant Sal Russo who has given financial records to the House committee.

He said the $200,000 was used for advertising on radio and social media calling on Trump supporters to attend the march. 

The chairman of the House committee examining the financing of the rally, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), said Fancelli ‘played a role’, adding: ‘We’re trying to follow the money.’

Fancelli has not commented on her donations apart from a statement released earlier this year condemning the ugly scenes.

She said: ‘I am a proud conservative and have real concerns associated with election integrity, yet I would never support any violence, particularly the tragic and horrific events that unfolded on January 6.’

The Publix supermarket chain based in Fancelli’s hometown of Florida has distanced itself from the donations and stated she is not involved in the business.

It is not known if she has a stake in the private family-run company. 

The store said in a statement to the Washington Post it ‘cannot control the actions of individual stockholders’, adding: ‘We are deeply troubled by Ms. Fancelli’s involvement in the events that led to the tragic attack on the Capitol on January 6.’

Fancelli had previously donated around $1million to a joint account for the Trump campaign and Republican Party in 2019 and 2020 (pictured at the January 6 rally)

Fancelli had previously donated around $1million to a joint account for the Trump campaign and Republican Party in 2019 and 2020 (pictured at the January 6 rally)

Publix Founder George Jenkins, pictured right, founded the first Publix location in 1930, and passed away in 1996

Publix Founder George Jenkins, pictured right, founded the first Publix location in 1930, and passed away in 1996

Her donations were arranged by Caroline Wren, a top fundraising official on the Trump 2020 campaign who has now been subpoenaed by the House committee.

Fancelli planned to attend the rally and booked a room at the Willard hotel but changed her mind due to concerns about traveling during the pandemic, sources said.

Weeks after the rally, Fancelli allegedly spoke with top executive of the Republican National Committee where she maintained her belief the election was stolen.

She had previously donated around $1million to a joint account for the Trump campaign and Republican Party in 2019 and 2020. 

She has also given large donations to Republican candidates and organizations, but her funding increased after Trump’s election win in 2016, records show, working with Donald Trump Jr.’s partner Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Fancelli has continued to donate to right-wing causes this year, supporting candidates who are still pushing Trump’s MAGA agenda.

Fancelli is a big supporter of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (pictured in 2018) and frequently sent friends and family emails with links to his videos in the weeks leading up to the riots

Fancelli is a big supporter of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (pictured in 2018) and frequently sent friends and family emails with links to his videos in the weeks leading up to the riots

George W. Jenkins (pictured) opened the first Publix store in Winter Haven in 1930

George W. Jenkins (pictured) opened the first Publix store in Winter Haven in 1930

Fancelli's sister Carol Jenkins Barnett, 65 (pictured in 2009) died of complications from Alzheimer's disease on Tuesday night

Fancelli’s sister Carol Jenkins Barnett, 65 (pictured in 2009) died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Tuesday night

THE PUBLIX EMPIRE 

Florida-based Publix Super Markets was founded by George Jenkins in 1930. 

It is the largest employee-owned company in the country.

The Jenkins Family still own 20 percent of the company. 

It is currently chaired by George’s grandson, William E. ‘Ed’ Crenshaw. 

Jennifer Jenkins and Howard Jenkins also sit on the board. 

The company made $38 billion in 2019 revenues. 

The Jenkins Family are currently the 39th richest family in the U.S. 

Julie Jenkins Fancelli is not on the board of Publix but previously owned a company that was one of its vendors. 

Publix stopped using Alma Foods as a vendor once she left in 2017. 

Fancelli also sits on the board for the George Jenkins Foundation with her siblings, Carol and Howard. 

Carol and Howard have both been listed as billionaires on the Forbes rich list.  

But she continues to spend most of her time in Florence despite owning homes in Lakeland and Longboat Key in Florida, where she also co-owns a private golf course and used to own two Italian restaurants.

Her husband Mauro Fancelli, who she married in 1972, runs a fruit and vegetable wholesale business in Italy.

She met her husband while on a study-abroad year in Florence, Italy, while she was a University of Florida student. 

Her donations are arranged through the George Jenkins Foundation which is named after her father, for which she serves as president.

The foundation had net assets of $27.7million last year and donated $3.3million to charities promoting education and social services to poor children and the elderly.

The heiress has never served on the board of directors for Publix or been a company executive, but once owned a company that sold food worth millions to the supermarket chain.

After she left Alma Foods in 2017, Publix stopped using it as a vendor.  

She is one of seven children of Jenkins who set up Publix in 1930 after quitting his job at a local Piggly Wiggly.

The chain now has around 1,300 stores and net earnings of $4billion last year and is the largest employee-owned company in the country.

The family was named by Forbes as the 39th richest in the US last year with an estimated worth of $8.8billion. 

The Jenkins family own 20 per cent of the business, with the remaining 80 per cent in the hands of the firm’s employees. 

Fancelli’s sister Carol Bennett and her husband Barney have also donated generously to conservative politicians and the Republican Party for decades. 

In 2016, Barnett’s trust donated $800,000 to defeat a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana in Florida – the measure failed that year, but passed two years later. 

Publix was the center of controversy in 2018 after the company gave tons of cash to then–gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, a strong supporter of the NRA. 

Parkland survivor David Hogg held a number of ‘die-in’ protests outside their stores as a result.  


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