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Posted on March 8, 2017
TALLAHASSEE — State Attorney Jack Campbell said he is waiting for someone with first-hand knowledge of the Tallahassee Mayor’s possible misappropriation of the city software for personal campaign use to step forward and request an investigation.
“I’ve been expecting a complaint,” Campbell said. “I’ve been waiting because I don’t have the facts right now. I’m willing to look into it and assign an investigator to get to the bottom of it.”
He continued, “I expected to hear from someone with personal knowledge about it so I could assign an investigator and let them start following. Lots of stuff I see and read about in the news that I think probably is not good but I don’t just chase after everything I hear. Everything so far is hearsay. I try not to chase rabbit trails just based on things I’ve heard. I try to base it on facts. I need someone with knowledge to come to me.”
On February 23, Tallahassee Reports broke the story that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum had allegedly spent approximately $5,000 in city funds to purchase software from democrat campaign vendor, NGP VAN. That software was allegedly used in campaign email for Gillum in which he mixed “Office of the Mayor” letterhead with his campaign correspondence.
Campbell stressed that he does not know the facts surrounding the allegations against Gillum.
When asked if actions like those Gillum has been accused of were illegal, Campbell confirmed, “There are aspects of this that could be illegal.”
“Is misappropriation a crime? Absolutely, but there also has to be intent,” Campbell explained. “It really gets into the extent and degree we’re talking about. That’s where discretion and judgement come in. This office is not going to arrest everybody who takes a ballpoint pen out of their office or has written a grocery list on a work computer. On the other hand, if someone is taking cross-country vacations in the company car—that seems to be what this case might be about.”
Once Tallahassee Reports broke this story, Gillum reimbursed the city for $4,965 to cover fees for the software.
Campbell asked if the reimbursement changed anything.
“The fact that you make restitution doesn’t necessarily absolve you of the crime,” Campbell said.
“We have a lot of people who get caught stealing and they say ‘Well, I’ll give all the money back.’ Well, no, that doesn’t absolve you of the fact that you stole,” he continued.
The fact that Campbell and Gillum share Democrat Party affiliation would have zero effect on Campbell’s investigation, according to Campbell.
“I prosecute a lot of people that have a lot more in common with me than just political party. I’ve had to prosecute people I went to high school with, people I’ve gone to church with. Part of my ethics is my ability to be fair and impartial,” he said.
He explained in cases where the prosecutor can’t be fair and impartial, there is an “executive assignment” and a prosecutor from a different jurisdiction is brought in.
“(There is) nothing about the mayor, let alone the Democrat Party, that causes me any consternation,” Campbell reiterated.