UPDATED: Governor DeSantis Takes No Action on Andrew Gillum, Rick Fernandez Ethics Findings

UPDATED: Governor DeSantis Takes No Action on Andrew Gillum, Rick Fernandez Ethics Findings


Based on comments by Dr. Erwin Jackson after meeting with officials in the Governor’s Office on Monday, it appears the delay in processing ethics cases has more to do with procedure than the individuals involved.

Jackson stated he was told that the “governor wants to change the current procedures. He believes once a politician is found guilty the process is over. The governor feels the “ethics judges” are best equipped to make a final decision. He also believes that any political influence should be avoided! They plan to seek these changes in this session.”

Jackson said he “was assured the delay had to do with changing the process and not because of the individuals involved.”

Original Report

The Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that a backlog of nearly 30 recommended orders from the state’s ethics board, which imposes penalties on an array of public officials, is going unaddressed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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The backlog of cases involve two orders related to two former City of Tallahassee officials – Mayor Andrew Gillum and City Manager Rick Fernandez.

When contacted by TR, Dr. Erwin Jackson, who filed the complaints against Gillum and Fernandez, said he was shocked that DeSantis did not finish the process.

“It is amazing what you have to go through to hold elected officials accountable. I will be at the Governor’s Office on Monday morning to find out what is going on,” said Jackson.

In April of last year, Gillum agreed to a settlement with the Florida Commission on Ethics related to trips he took with city lobbyist Adam Corey to New York and Costa Rica. In the settlement Gillum admits he took a gift from city lobbyist Adam Corey while in New York and has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine.

In early 2019 Fernandez acknowledged violations of various ethics statutes related to a $4,700 discount on the catering price for his daughters wedding reception and the use of FSU sky box tickets for four different home games in 2016.

The settlement recommends a public censure and reprimand and a civil penalty totaling $6,000.

Amid the controversy, Fernandez resigned from his city manager position with the City of Tallahassee on January 3, 2018 and, as part of the separation agreement, received $94,000, or 18 weeks of pay.

Gillum and Fernandez have not paid the fines because it is up to the governor to accept the orders created by the Florida Commission on Ethics and have them carried out. DeSantis has failed to accept the findings and no one in the Governor’s Office is commenting.

Ben Wilcox, research director for Integrity Florida – a nonprofit, nonpartisan government ethics watchdog, told the Tallahassee Democrat that it is a “huge concern because (the commission) is struggling to enforce the state’s ethics laws.”

16 Responses to "UPDATED: Governor DeSantis Takes No Action on Andrew Gillum, Rick Fernandez Ethics Findings"

  1. ~ Jackson said he “was assured the delay had to do with changing the process and not because of the individuals involved.”

    Not for nothing… but any backlog should be addresses under the current process, BEFORE any proposed process changes are considered or made. Would the same apply to any other crimes committed by say… non politically connected citizens? Would they be allowed to roam free while “proposed” changes in the sentencing guidelines were being considered?

    This 2-step dance is what continues to erode the public’s trust in our government. At some point – those entrusted with the stewardship of our government, policies, laws, and tax dollars should try to at least begin an effort to reverse this concerning trend.

  2. Oh you of short memory:
    Let me clue you in on what you so desperately want to pretend never happened.

    The Monkey it up comment:
    Yeah I said it.
    After Gillum launched his response to monkey it up – we did not see or hear from his opponent, DeSantis, for 3 whole weeks. And because of that I just dont think there is an appetite to ever again confront Gillum in any way shape or form. Once bitten twice shy.

    Yeah I too feel we have the best Governor ever but just dont expect him to want to go thru the horror of the 3 week hiatus of the monkey it up fiasco again. It almost cost him the Mansion you know.

  3. Dr. Jackson just pulled out of his driveway headed for the Governor’s office. Please have a complimentary hot beverage waiting for him in reception.

    1. Uhh, DeSantis is not even in town today, folks. He was at the WH in DC this morning, and in Orlando later this afternoon. So Erwin may be meeting with his reps, but not the Guv.

  4. Hedging my BET on the POWERFUL Dr.. Erwin Jackson to put FIRE under the Governor a$$ to respond unless FBI has intervene in that process with those two LIARS found guilty of MALFEASANCE!!!

  5. If DeSantis does not take action. Vote him out if he is not going to be an effective governor and if he is afraid to take action against criminals.

  6. Maybe he wants to lay low like he has been lately. Since all those pics of him and Lev Parnas surfaced. You know, the guy that nobody has ever heard of but turns up in all kinds of pictures with Trump/Giuliani/DeSantis/Bondi/Huckabee.

  7. Could this be because DeSantis knows there is more to come? What about the (alleged) sealed indictments?

    If he doesn’t pay his fine, can Andrew Guilty still vote?

    1. I sure hope so.

      I seem to recall reading that as part of Fernandez’ generous resignation package that if he had to attend court, or had to attended to any ‘matters’ related to the City of Tallahassee, the City of Tallahassee (you and I) would cover his expenses and an houtly rate of ~ $120 per hour.

  8. The enigmatic Governor has lots of people scratching their heads on both sides of the aisle.
    Still, hard to argue with sky high approval numbers.

    Go get ’em Erwin!

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