Panel Finds Cause With Gillum Ethics Allegations

Panel Finds Cause With Gillum Ethics Allegations

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — State ethics officials have found probable cause that former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost the governor’s race last year and continues to draw national political attention, violated Florida ethics laws by accepting gifts from lobbyists.

The Florida Commission on Ethics isn’t expected to announce the findings until next week. However, Gillum’s attorney, Barry Richard, and Erwin Jackson, a Tallahassee businessman who filed the complaint, said after a closed-door meeting Friday that the commission was unanimous in support of its staff’s findings and that the case is now headed to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

“The month of January is not going to be good for Andrew Gillum,” said Jackson, who hopes the commission’s findings will be followed by criminal charges against the former Democratic mayor.

“Locally, hopefully, the word is getting out, we expect our local officials to act ethically and honestly, and represent the public instead of themselves,” Jackson said.

Richard said the findings were based on Gillum receiving gifts, not that he solicited anything.

“The (commission’s) advocate says that (Gillum) was hanging out with these people who were lobbyists and had an interest,” Richard said. “But there is no evidence in this case, and there is no allegations that he ever did anything for anybody, as a quid pro quo for receiving a gift. There is no suggestion he took a payment he wasn’t entitled to, that he voted for somebody for something.”

Richard said the hearing before an administrative law judge could be held in 45 to 60 days.

Gillum did not attend Friday’s ethics commission meeting.

The ethics complaint added to questions that dogged Gillum throughout his gubernatorial campaign about possible ties to an FBI investigation of Tallahassee City Hall.

In December, former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and a close associate, political consultant Paige Carter-Smith, were indicted on 44 counts, including bank fraud, extortion, making false statements to federal officers and filing false tax returns.

No charges have been filed against Gillum, but Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis used the FBI investigation to slam the ethics and honesty of Gillum during the campaign. DeSantis ultimately won the race and was sworn into office Jan. 8.

DeSantis’ allegations were aided during the campaign by the release of documents related to the ethics investigation. The documents raised questions about how Gillum paid in 2016 for a pricey ticket to the hit musical “Hamilton,” a boat ride in New York City and a Costa Rica vacation.

Public officials in Florida are prohibited from accepting gifts of $100 or more from lobbyists and others that work with the government.

The attacks on Gillum reached the White House, where just over a week before the election President Donald Trump tweeted that Gillum was a “thief” who oversees one of the country’s “most corrupt cities.”

On Thursday, DeSantis downplayed Gillum’s situation.

“At the end of the day, he was a tough competitor,” DeSantis said. “I think he’s a talented guy. I don’t wish anything ill for him.”

DeSantis acknowledged he didn’t know all the facts of the ethics complaint after noting he had “opined a time or two during the campaign on some of the issues.”

13 Responses to "Panel Finds Cause With Gillum Ethics Allegations"

  1. Wait until somebody looks over the budget, cost overruns tied to the projects of Rickards and Fairview that went to Rocky Hanna’s campaign donors. Rocky, your brother cannot hire a PI to twist photos and create 75 LLC’s to clean up this mess. Hanna is corrupt!

  2. The Maddox, Gillum, Daniels, Fernandez, etcetera corruptions went over the Tallahassee Democrat’s head or underneath their proverbial rug.

    They promoted them endorsed them and socialized with them in Sandestin and Amelia Island at taxpayers expense.

    Not living in their districts, their contempt for honesty and integrity, just the All Out inability to have the character to do what was right escaped them.

    Tallahassee became a crime-ridden democratic stronghold ghetto and thanks to the above characters they now have to face what is ahead and repent and be remorseful, but no they believe they did no wrong.

    For once, I would wish they would hold themselves accountable and say I did it, I’m sorry, and I’ll never do it again… and I will spend the rest of my life making up for my past transgressions.

    Well today is a new day … Tallahassee is brighter and on the path to becoming, again beautiful — and I can breathe that fresh air gently blowing in and hopefully it is here to stay for a long long time.

    Thank-you Dr Jackson, Steve Stewart, Ethics Commission and the FBI for saving Tallahassee!

  3. Erwin Jackson and Steve Stewart saved the state of Florida by researching and exposing these and other crimes before the election.

    Otherwise, it’s Governor Gillum.

    Stay tuned!

  4. Yes, WTG, Dr. Jackson!
    In one day, the state ethics commission did more to clean up our city government than our feckless city ethics board has done in what, probably 4-6 years.
    Dr. Jackson: I hope that next on your agenda you introduce an amendment to dissolve and DEFUND the city ethics board. An absolute waste, along with the CRA(p), of taxpayer money.

  5. Sorry to say this, but so long as our city is dominated by corrupt Democrats, nothing will change. The result of our last election did nothing more than trade one group of criminals for another.

    “Meet the new boss(es), same as the old…”

    Corruption has a home, and it is the City of Tallahassee.

  6. Great job Mr. Jackson! Next up: The Feds and their extensive criminal charges and the infamous “perk” walk. Tsumnani coming! Stay tuned!

  7. First Maddox, then Gillum, and now Daniels. All flaming liberals, and all guilty of ethics violations. Anybody see a pattern here?

    1. Great point, Jason. The sad truth is in the Dem-Socialist world, having a few ethics and criminal charges against you is practically a rite of passage and even a badge of honor. Gillum’s been noticed and approved by the national far-left DS-DNC-MSM cabal, and their only criticisms of him from these ethics findings will be “You got caught – next time just don’t be so sloppy – otherwise, great going!” They’ve done the same for obama, Hillary, former DNC chair Debbie Wash-Out-My-Shorts, Menendez, Keith Ellison and countless others. Corruption is just a part of flaming liberal culture. This won’t hurt Gillum’s standing in the DS world a bit, might even put a little shine on his far-left badge.

  8. To all government officials that abused their authority while in office or during the election process I hope this serves as a warning that some people will not rest until Justice is served. To the school board of Leon County as a citizen I am perturbed that you do not seek justice after Rocky Hanna used his work email email to settle his child support lawsuit and the fact that you do not seek reimbursement for the $600,000 expense he incurred upon us for his self-admitted false accusatory notebook that the investigation was paid for from our tax dollars. During the investigation Mr. Hanna admitted he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and that he alone wrote the misleading summaries that caused both state and federal authorities to investigate our school district. Mr. Hanna should be charged with making knowingly false accusations, he should be brought to the state ethics review for educators. Everyone in this community should be outraged by what Hanna has been allowed to get away with that has taken away from teacher raises and supplies for students.

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