Tallahassee Reports has recovered documents which shows that Solar Distributors of America, LLC, a business identified in a federal subpoena related to the investigation of local corruption in Tallahassee, resides in the same 3,650 square foot building that is headquarters to the Andrew Gillum campaign for Florida governor.
Also, summaries of city commission meetings show that, then City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, was a crucial vote on a $5.4 million industrial bond issue for a solar project that resulted in the creation of Solar Distributors of America, LLC.
The Florida Department of Revenue was served with a subpoena on June 19, 2017 by the US Attorney of the Northern District of Florida seeking tax records for various businesses including Solar Distributors of America, LLC.
Gillum’s campaign headquarters is also the current address for P&P Communications, a public relations firm with no website that employs Gillum.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the owner of P&P Communications and 1550 Melvin Street, reorganized her ownership of the building just after Gillum declared his candidacy for governor.
State of Florida records show that Solar Distributors of America, LLC has listed the 1550 Melvin Street as the principle business address since its incorporation on August 3, 2011.
The date of the incorporation occurred less than two months after a 3-1 vote by the Tallahassee City Commission on June 22, 2011 to move forward with the approval of a Memorandum of Agreement with Sunnyland Solar, LLC.
Solar Distributors of America, LLC partnered with Sunnyland Solar, LLC in a solar business venture.
Also, Sunnyland Solar, LLC is connected to Kim Rivers and JT Burnette who are considered targets of the FBI investigation. Rivers and Burnette have been major campaign donors to Gillum’s city campaigns.
City Commissioner Gil Ziffer voted against the measure and City Commissioner Mark Mustian abstained for conflict reasons. This means that without the support of any of the three remaining commissioners, which included Gillum, the measure would have failed.
The agreement authorized the issue of tax-exempt debt with a principal amount not to exceed $5,400,000 for the purpose of financing the cost of acquisition, installation, and equipping of Sunnyland Solar facilities.
The Sunnyland Solar project included Solar Distributors of America as the company under which a 23-acre site in Madison County was purchased for $175,000 to house the solar facilities.
Charles Frazier, the managing member of Solar Distributors of America, was also a member of the Imagine Tallahassee steering committee which was founded by Rivers and Burnette. The nonprofit was created to help make recommendations on what projects to spend Blueprint 2020 one-cent sales tax money.
Records show that when Solar Distributors of America first listed 1550 Melvin Street as their business address in 2011, Andrew Gillum also listed the 1550 Melvin Street as the address for his employer at the time, People for the American Way, on his financial disclosure form. Gillum worked for the People for American Way at the 1550 Melvin Street address until 2016.
The Sunnyland project -relying on tax incentives and creative financing – promised an innovative source of renewable energy through sausage solar tubes. However, technical problems followed by lawsuits ended the project.
The FBI subpoena hit city hall in June 2017.
Andrew Gillum continues to say that he is not a target in the FBI investigation.