Campaign reports reveal that two of the businesses featured in Tallahassee Democrat articles, that were paid for by Mayor Andrew Gillum’s office, were also major donors to Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor.
TR has previously reported that Mayor Andrew Gillum’s office negotiated with the Tallahassee Democrat to publish ten stories favorable to Andrew Gillum’s “Friendly Workplace Initiative.” The ten stories were written by Tallahassee Democrat journalist TaMaryn Waters and highlighted Gillum’s “Family Friendly Workplace” initiative he began in 2015.
Gillum announced his candidacy for governor on March 1st, 2017. In May 2017, the Mayor’s Office was billed $10,000 for the stories.
A review of campaign reports shows two businesses that were deemed to have family friendly workplaces were also campaign donors to Gillum’s gubernatorial political action committee, Forward Florida.
TR is still waiting on additional public records associated with this issue. To date, no records show that the businesses featured in the Tallahassee Democrat series were aware that the Mayor’s Office was paying to have the articles published.
On March 8th, 2017, Sam Rogers and Bart Gunter, who are affiliated with Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance, each donated $5,000 to Forward Florida.
An article financed by the Mayor’s Office featuring Rogers Gunter Vaughn Insurance workplace practices was published in the Tallahassee Democrat on April 3rd, 2017.
On April 1st, 2017, the Tallahassee Democrat featured Mainline Information Systems as a family friendly workplace. The CEO of Mainline, Rick Kearney, donated $10,000 to Forward Florida on January 31, 2018.
Kearney has previously made campaign donations to Gillum’s local races.