A Tallahassee Reports investigation of local government contracts with campaign consultants for current elected officials reveals that three consultants with campaign ties to all five current city commissioners have received approximately $395,000 in payments over the last two years.
Tallahassee Reports could not find any campaign consultants for Leon County Commissioners receiving payments from Leon County government over the last two years.
Tallahassee Reports researched payments made by the City of Tallahassee via contracts with ties to three different campaign consultants.
Vancore-Jones, Inc., a local campaign consulting and public relations firm, has worked on a number of local political races in Leon county.
Payments for political consulting made to Vancore-Jones from current city commissioners through campaign accounts include City Commissioners Gil Ziffer and Nancy Miller.
Vancore-Jones, Inc, also has a services contract with the City of Tallahassee. A review of the city’s online checkbook shows that over the last two years Vancore-Jones has been paid approximately $100,000 for services.
The Zachary Group and the Big Production, two campaign consulting firms affiliated with Gary Yordon, have collected payments from the campaign accounts of current City Commissioners Nancy Miller, Curtis Richardson, and Scott Maddox.
A review of the city’s online checkbook shows that Mr. Yordon, through Zachary Group and the Big Production, has received approximately $100,000 in payments from the City of Tallahassee for work on the TAPP program over the last two years.
And finally, ESP Media, owned by Sean Pittman, has been paid for campaign services for current City of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
Mr. Pittman is also a state registered lobbyist for the City of Tallahassee through a contract with Ron Book, P.A. which has recieved approximately $195,000 from the City of Tallahassee over the last two years.
Reader recommended next step for Tallahassee Reports:
1) If not already in hand, File a FOIA request for the contract documents, with specific emphasis on the scope of work required by city of the 3 contractors, all records between the City of Tallahassee’s Purchasing Department and the contractors, and the city commissioners and city staff with the city purchasing staff related to the contracts (before and after their official execution).
2) Request all documents received by the city (commissioners, commission staff, City of Tallahassee Purchasing Department, arising from the contracts, with special emphasis on the the scope of work requirements in all records. This request must include “informal reports” and other non-contract-specific documents received by the purchasing staff regarding the three contractors, e.g. requests from commission staff to administration staff regarding “overdue” contract payments.
3) Compare the required scope of work outlined in the contract to what was received by the city. If there was no detailed scope of work, why not? Also evaluate communications between city commissioners and commission staff with purchasing department staff regarding all aspects of the contract (before, during, and after the contract period). Were there communications you find noteworthy? Were there change orders to the contract after original start date, i.e. changes to the scope of work, contract extensions (with or without change in cost). The latter evaluation, if changes to dates of service to contract period took place, will be to see if contractors were allowed more time to perform the same service (and why); if same service was required over a much shorter period of time (and why). Also the more typical government-influenced change-order, whether official or unofficial: extension of both contract dates of service AND increase in payments to contractor.
4) Compare the selection of these three contractors to the City’s required contractor/vendor selection process and also to the State’s Public Meetings requirements for contractor evaluation and selection processes. If original contracts were below the threshold requiring bids, were change orders increasing the cost requested and approved at a later date? Were the contract amounts first lower but later higher than the required City Commission approval amount?
5) Evaluate and report your findings, whatever they reveal.
Perhaps rename this story lasting legacy what will it be? Add in the current Superintendent of schools to this story and expose more cronyism. Fraudulent FBI investigations, wasted tax payer dollars, offer for supplement raises rather than salary, movement of teachers and principals because of who they endorsed Six associate Superintendents jobs were NEVER advertised but rather handed out without question by the School Board! This is the legacy of one Rocky Hanna.
Yordon on Bob Fulford’s death:
“Bob was the last of the legitimate government critics,” said political consultant and former Leon County Commissioner Gary Yordon, who has been cited in a federal subpoena related to the FBI investigation. “There is a group (of critics) who are just out to be absurd, not to make things better. But Bob was a legitimate critic. He was cantankerous, he was opinionated, but he cared. Bob’s goal was better government, not hurting people.”
Does it take a legitimate crook to know a legitimate critic?
It is sad on both accounts as Mr. Fulford was a nice man and will be missed. Yordon does not get it that he is out for himself and has no interest in the betterment of humanity…only himself. He will harass/threaten anyone who who disagrees with him. What is even more disturbing is that Gary has no social conscience of what he does and that the Tallahassee Democrat would publish a quote from Yordon as no one cares what Yordon thinks.
Steve Vancore is one of the biggest sleazeballs in the sleaziest of professions. The kind of jerk that always thinks he is the smartest dude in the room. Great work on this Steve Stewart. Keep at it, there is a treasure trove of dirty work here.
Clean sweeps will only happen with accountability. It has been almost 4 years since Rocky Hanna admitted to the attorney Hank Cox investigating his “notebook” that he (Rocky) had no knowledge of wrongdoing by anybody.
MIke comments of 10/4 very good. A clean sweep of city/county government from top to bottom will be necessary to instill pride and honesty in local government. That will require certain block voting voters to employ some hard to find common sense and actually study candidates qualifications. This will have to be a learning experience for these folks which to date, has not happened !!
Honesty and integrity in government and media. Is that too much to expect?
And furthermore 99.99% of the bad actors and their supporters are liberal.
Seems liberal is code around The Capital City for crook.
Think about it.
I know this is probably way too much to wish for, but perhaps it’s time for Gov. Scott and the State Legislature to intervene and exert the full power of state law enforcement (such as the FDLE, et al) into an intensive investigation of Tallahassee’s rotten-to-the-core government and COT officials.
Florida is now the 3rd most populated state in America, and having the Capital City of Tallahassee exhibit such rampant and systemic corruption should be a national embarassment for Gov. Scott and the FL Legislature. What does it say to America about the general political-ethical reputation of Florida to have such a pitifully corrupt State Capital? I imagine most people would feel it taints and infects our State Government simply by close association. Not a good reputation at all!
No matter how well-governed the State of Florida may be in general, having a political filth-pit of a city government in the Florida State Capital should be important enough to our Governor and State officials to uncover and eradicate that kind of corruption. Gov. Scott, I hope you’re reading this!
Wow… U people are batshit crazy
Although my wording and lack of lazy text-language shortcuts (such as “U”) were absent, I often expressed much the same sentiments for Obama, Hillary, and Bernie voters – and a great many COT voters.
Despite my efforts, I can’t understand their viewpoints, but that’s our Democracy, and I support it over any other form of government, whether or not I understand the other side’s voters or viewpoints. I guess that’s what the Left would call “tolerance” – Wish they would practice what they preach.
Todd, It’s good to have opposing views on this site. I just wish there was a little more substance to your posts.
Just the tip of the iceberg! Keep digging TR. There are other areas where you will find this kind of favoritism from CM too.
I know patience is a virtue, but can we just get rid of all of these crooks now?
Remember this popular website?
Someone should stamp that on a dollar bill, donate it to, say, Scottie’s campaign, and see who else’s pockets it circles into.
When will the public decide that each city commissioner is a dishonest, self-serving crook! Every commissioner gave their campaign manager a big city contract!
Every city commissioner grabbed cash from the King of CRA money, JT Burnette, and the den of corruption in Jennings St. Where was Gil Ziffer, the guy now talking about ethics and transparency? FIRST in line to grad cash from this this FBI person of interest!
Where was Gil Ziffer when the city gave away our golf course to J T Burnette? There is Gil, right in the front sucking up to J T Burnette and destroying Killearn Estates!
Every city contractor has shown to be dishonest and unwilling to stand with the public. “A Vote For Ziffer Is A Vote For Corruption !
Waw..how about u go throw somemore cash around the COT meeting again…..”DR” …the only Dr u are is a slumload Dr….MR JACKSON
Dr. Jackson, an entire response without a direct mention of Scott Maddox?? Have you turned over a new leaf? #votersforMaddox
Ya’ll whole town Ridin’ Dirty!
This is shocking! Almost as shocking as LCS paying $600,000 to look into the knowingly false/concocted notebook from Rocky Hanna. Folks don’t feel bad about the city commissioners, the school board won’t hold Mr.Hanna accountable for his false accusations costing the district $600,000. It’s the Tallahassee way.
More money for the Ausley firm.
Great work and reporting. Hope voters will replace everyone at city hall.