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Mayor Gillum’s Travel Companion was Registered to Lobby City Commission for Insurance Provider

Posted on March 2, 2015

Mayor Gillum’s Travel Companion was Registered to Lobby City Commission for Insurance Provider

Tallahassee Reports has learned that Sean Pittman, Mayor Gillum’s travel companion on three trips over the last four months, was registered to lobby the City Commission for an insurance company seeking business from the City of Tallahassee during two of those trips.

The form on file with the City of Tallahassee is shown below and shows Sean Pittman was the registered lobbyist for Nationwide insurance as of 8/21/2014 which was bidding for work with the City.

City Commissioner Andrew Gillum was elected Mayor on August 26, 2014.

PittmanLobbyist

Gillum told Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat that he traveled with Sean Pittman and others to Chattanooga, Tennessee in October, 2014 and Charelston, S.C. in November, 2014. During this time, Pittman was registered with the City to lobby the Mayor and City Commissioners.

Pittman’s client finished fourth in the bidding which was voted on during the January 28th, 2015 City Commission meeting.

Mayor Andrew Gillum did make comments during the meeting which questioned specific aspects about the bidding process.

The lobbying form also has a question which asks the lobbyists to “disclose any direct business association or partnership with any current member of the City Commission.”

Mr. Pittman revealed no relationship on the form with Gillum even though records show that Pittman’s company ESP Media was a consultant for Gillum’s Mayoral campaign which ended on August 26, 2014, after he had registered to lobby the City.

The Gillum mayoral campaign paid Pittman’s company approximately $97,000.

In addition, Gillum stated that he paid for Pittman’s hotel during the Chattanooga and Charleston trips.

What are the ramifications of these transactions? TR is investigating.

18 Responses to Mayor Gillum’s Travel Companion was Registered to Lobby City Commission for Insurance Provider

  1. Preston Scott

    Preston Scott Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Let’s see…Sean Pittman not only receives money as the “lobbyist” for the City he also lobbies on behalf of a business that seeks money from the City. Did Mayor Gillum recuse himself from the vote? No. Did he disclose that the lobbyist, Pittman, has made several trips with the Mayor? No. Is this unethical? Yes. This is so absurdly wrong it is actually funny. BTW: Just when did it become standard operating procedure for elected officials pay others to represent the City? For the life of me, why do we have a “leadership mayor’s” position which is paid double of a Commissioner if he cannot even lobby on behalf of the City?

    • T. Michael Hines Reply

      March 3, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Voters sometimes make mistakes. When Commissioner Maddox proposed a change to the City Charter replacing the rotating and honorary mayor with an elected mayor, and the voters approved that Charter amendment, it opened the door to these type abuses. A citizen’s committee should begin the effort to obtain signatures to place a Charter amendment back before the voters to abolish the “leadership mayor” position and restore the rotational and honorary role of mayor.

      • Preston Scott

        Preston Scott Reply

        March 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

        I think that is a terrific idea. Citizens voted for ethical reforms, in large part, due to the former Mayor’s questionable actions. The new Mayor is forging a new, more reckless path. Time for rotating Mayor – all paid the same.

    • Ran Kelvin Reply

      March 6, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Preston,
      It is absurd and laughable that this government of the capital of the third largest state in the Union is also so corrupt. No, not laughable anymore. It has become a gravely serious environment in which anything and everything is up for grabs, for payoffs, for theft. And yet the democrat party machine is so well established, so well entrenched as a corrupting influence that even when presented with the facts, the local newspaper obscures, hides and ignores its responsibility as a free press to sound the alarm. It is simply outrageous.

  2. bob fulford Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Mayor Gilliam will meet with citizens on March 18th,5:00 P.M. for an hour at Backwoods Bistro on Tennessee St., catty-cornered from Leon High School in a meeting sponsored by the LWV Tallahassee. He is seeking input from citizens and this may be the time for you to ask him questions about this issue or, better yet, make some suggestions to him of what you think are problems the City should address. Or applaud anything going on…..such as the new solar commitment…that you see as the right direction of the City.

    I would suggest that should you take advantage of this opportunity that you prepare and leave with the Mayor a card containing your remarks that he can take with him.

  3. Hope Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    One would think that a national company like Nationwide would have a higher standard in the lobbyists they hire. Wonder how much Nationwide paid Pittman to come in fourth in the bidding process?

  4. Edward Holifield, M.D.

    Edward Holifield, M.D. Reply

    March 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Does Sean Pittman have a moral compass? He has lobbied on behalf of a tobacco company despite tobacco’s targeting of black communities. Meanwhile, tobacco kills an estimated 480,000 people a year. That being the case, the City has no business paying Pittman to be its lobbyist, or for anything else. If Pittman has a moral compass, it appears to be broken.

  5. TBell Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Wait…so the company that Mr. Pittman represented came in fourth in the bidding? And THAT is the conflict of interest? Where is the unfair advantage there? I hate to say it, but this smells a lot like a witch hunt.

    • Steve

      Steve Reply

      March 3, 2015 at 10:07 am

      TBell – not a question of who wins it is about process. Should elected officials travel with people who represent vendors seeking business from them?

    • Hope Reply

      March 3, 2015 at 10:43 am

      TB,

      Attempting to call “witch hunt” shows you must be part or close to this corruption in some way. You fool no one.

      • WaydeRunner Reply

        March 3, 2015 at 10:50 am

        Hope, your paranoia is showing. Circling the wagons to protect slander never ends well.

        • Hope Reply

          March 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm

          The usual suspects when confronted with their indiscretions always attack the messengers. Why is that? They scream slander, they cry foul, they threaten to sue, they rally their minions and sycophants, then pretend to be in denial.

          Instead of simply engaging in a dialogue, answering questions, or explaining their actions they attack which diminishes their credibility even more. So predictable.

          • Ran Kelvin

            March 6, 2015 at 10:11 am

            Hope,
            A significant portion of this city has got their number. I believe it is a matter of time before this democrat party machine gets too greedy or that someone is attacked, physically, which will bring the house of cards down. Of course we do need to be patient, nothing will be accomplished until the corruption in the Department of Justice and the FBI is brought to an end. Then, the whistle blowers and other good citizens will be encouraged to make Tallahassee safe again for men and women of an honest civic nature.

  6. Harold Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Correct, Steve. It’s not about who won. But it would be nice to know how the mayor — who should have, by any standard, recused himself — voted on the issue.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong or abuse-inviting about a “leadership mayor”.

    Lastly, those who look to a national insurance company to select lobbyists with a ‘higher standard’ have an inflated opinion of national insurance companies.

  7. TBell Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Oh I understand fully the straws at which you’re grasping. My point is, again, that Nationwide came in fourth in a process where it only matters who won. Clearly, no advantage was gained.

    • Alex Reply

      March 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      TBell, Pittman did win. Perhaps not the bid. But he already knows he runs the process. He is laughing all the way to the bank. Let’s see. The insurance company paid him to lobby, we pay him to Lobby as a city lobbyist, and Gillum pays him to “consult”. No loss for him there, only the citizens.

      In an ethical arena, only one of those rolls would take place. However, due to him being so “close” to the insiders, no one will challenge him or the process.

      All I can say is this is a sad commission, when they are all silent about this type of behavior. We all know that if this was happening on the School Board, everyone would be calling it for what is is, corruption….including the Tallahassee Democrat.

  8. Jeff Reply

    March 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Let’s see if I got this correct? Pittman gets paid with tax payer dollars to lobby God only knows what for the city. Pittman gets paid by a private entity to lobby the city. Pittman gets paid by mayor gillum for getting him elected. Pittman and gillum go on multiple trips that are city business only when no one is looking. From all that I have read and heard no rebutile, I cannot understand how anyone; liberal, republican, democrat, or conservative can defend these unethical actions! Same ol same ol, can we please pull our heads out of the sand….

  9. Julie Danger Reply

    March 11, 2015 at 10:02 am

    The bidding process for all city business needs an overhaul. I had the pleasure of waiting around one day for a bid opening and the conversations prospective vendors were having regarding the favoritism in awarding bids – even sharing of information prior to the bid coming out – was not surprising. When I asked why they didn’t speak up they said it wouldn’t matter and would ruin any chance of ever getting city or county work.
    Politicians bank on the fact most citizens are busy working – sometimes 2 to 3 jobs – to make a living, paying bills and trying to have some sort of home life. We are constantly barraged by all the unethical and legally questionable actions of elected officials – national as well as state and local – that we get to the point we tune it out. At some point something has to change.

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