A donation from Julie Fancelli of Lakeland funded $300,000 of the $500,000 cost for the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., that preceded the assault on the U.S. Capitol, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Controversial radio host Alex Jones facilitated the donation for the rally, where then-President Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol, The Journal reported.
Fancelli, a daughter of Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins, did not respond to several requests for comment before the article was published, The Journal reported.
She issued a statement the day after it was published: “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 6th.”
Publix Super Markets issued a statement clarifying that Fancelli is not involved in its operations, Newsweek reported.
“Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs. Fancelli’s actions,” said Maria Brous, a Publix spokeswoman. “The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. The deplorable actions that occurred that day do not represent the values, work or opinions of Publix Super Markets.”
(Non-subscribers to The Journal can read just the first five paragraphs of today’s article. Some non-subscribers may be able to view the entire article via Apple News. In addition, the Daily Mail in the UK quickly followed up with its own version.)
After Fancelli contacted Jones, owner of the far-right Info Wars website, offering to contribute toward a Jan. 6 event in Washington, he connected her with event organizers through Trump fund-raiser Carolyn Wren, The Journal reported.
Wren played a major role in coordinating the rally on the Ellipse, the large park between the White House and the Washington Monument, according to ProPublica.
While the Ellipse rally was peaceful, it was where Trump repeated baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him and urged supporters to “fight like hell.” The subsequent march included Trump supporters breaching the Capitol, looking to halt the counting of electoral college votes and apprehend lawmakers.
Fancelli donated $997,300 to Trump Victory, the Trump campaign’s joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
She also gave $525,900 to the Republican National Committee, $11,000 to the Trump campaign and $500,000 to Trump-aligned super PAC America First Action in the 2020 cycle, in addition to hundreds of thousands to state Republican parties and down-ballot candidates, Forbes reported.
Fancelli, 71, spends much of her time in Florence, Italy, but also has a home in Lakeland near Lake Hollingsworth.
The Jenkins family is 39th wealthiest in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $8.8 billion, according to Forbes. Family members own 20% of Publix Super Markets, with the other 80% owned by the company’s employees.
On the day of the Jan. 6 protests, Jones alluded to a then-mystery donor in a video, according to Florida Politics. “Thank God a donor came in and paid like 80% of it,” Jones said. “Because it cost close to half a million dollars, with all the equipment, all the stages and the rest of it. Port-a-Potties, you name it.”