The J.T Burnette trial resumed in the federal court on Tuesday after a delay due to COVID precautions.
Paige Carte-Smith, business associate of Scott Maddox, finished her testimony Tuesday morning and was followed by the infamous “Mike Miller.”
Carter-Smith testified that she bought burner phones for herself, Maddox, and Maddox aide Allie Merzer Fleming. She also provided a burner phone to then -Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez.
She was asked by Greg Kehoe, J.T. Burnette’s attorney, why she purchased the burner cell phones. “I didn’t want everyone in the world listening to conversations about my personal life, with my kids, my sister, my father,” she said.
Kehoe went after Carter-Smith’s credibility by getting her to confirm that she had lied under oath to the Florida Ethics Commission in 2014 about Maddox ethics investigation.
Under cross-examination Carter-Smith confirmed that she believed her testimony could help reduce her sentence for her role in the bribery scheme.
She was asked, are you aware that the Government can ask Judge Hinkle to reduce your sentence?
Carter-Smith replied, “Yes, sir.”
Kehoe followed up with, “It is your hope that when you finish testifying here, (prosecutors) will use their discretion and their discretion alone to ask Judge Hinkle to reduce your sentence? “Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, sir,” she replied.
Governance Financial Troubles
Attorney Kehoe introduced text messages from April of 2014 between Scott Maddox and Gary Yordon, detailing financial troubles for Governance. Maddox texted Yordon that he had borrowed $100,000 from his mother.
“If we are shutting down I need to know that,” Yordon replied. “Don’t want to shut down but we will definitely be skipping paychecks unless something comes in,” Maddox texted back.
FBI Agent “Mike Miller” testified in the afternoon. Miller has been at the FBI since 2009, became a certified undercover agent in 2012, and he has been involved in more than 25 undercover investigations.
Miller says he was contacted about the case in summer of 2015 to pose as a real estate developer. He testified that he met Burnette for the first time at the Chamber Conference that August, 2015.
Miller described how he built a relationship with Burnette.
Miller testified that Burnette was “very nice, but very busy” and “not very interested in what I had to offer.” However, when Miller introduced undercover agent Mike Sweets to Burnette in December 2015 to talk about the cannabis industry, he says Burnette became significantly more interested.
In the fall of 2016, Burnette traveled to Nashville with the 3 undercover agents posing as developers. The undercover agents were hoping the trip would enable them to get closer to Burnette.
In one of the recordings from the trip, Burnette discussed the impact of the proposed Mckibbon hotel project on his purchase of the DoubleTree. In the recording Burnette said the project would have devalued the Double Tree by $7 million.
Referring to the Mckibbon project, Burnette boasted to the undercover agent, “I knew I could kill that hotel.”
When asked how he could kill the deal, Burnette responded, “Politically, I knew I had it. I had 2 votes, and I knew one guy would not vote, and a tie looses.”
This summary article is based on reporting from WTXL, WCTV, the Tallahassee Democrat, and Tallahassee Reports.
Local Tallahassee politicians learned several years ago that they didn’t even need to hide their graft anymore as they controlled the information via the mullet wrapper and were charged with policing themselves. Maddox always had a smarmy look about him that likely got him beat up alot when he was young. I hope both of these twits, along with ‘Dirty Andy’ Gillum get a full serving of justice.
Giving CRA funds to J T Burnette was a crime where are those indictments?
Where are the indictments for Gary Yordon?
Maddox should have been run out of town years and years and years ago when he was found in his office in a compromising position.
Thank you FBI for what you did to clean up this cesspool. At least this is the beginning that the scum on top is eradicated, but there are still a lot of algae blooms mixed in that need to be taken care of.
I think they need to look further into Truileve and Burnette’s association with that. Didn’t they give Burnett $57 million? Aren’t they heading up the Tallahassee Chamber Buffalo Party junket this year?
Yes, I believe there is a lot of disgusting bad behaviors that are not being reported and published and thank you for that Tallahassee Reports and Tallahassee Democrat.
Lots and lots of more work to be done.
Remember when cities are so poorly run… One word… Buckhead! Buckhead near Atlanta is breaking away from Atlanta so Tallahassee is next. People have had enough.
Just an elaborate scheme to let all Democrats [not just Maddox & Carter-Paige] off the hook while throwing the book at the one and only registered to vote Republican [Burnette].
All being orchestrated with a compliant Federal, local, and Judicial branch of Government.
When its over anyone that says justice was served is either a brainwashed leftist or a compliant fool.
Been in court every day—saw the FBI film. Political Porn. The long list of City Staff employees that were involved -but not charged is……sad. Im pissed ! City attorney at the time (Lewis) told Maddox, “make sure you are filing the proper paper work” . But attorney never fallowed up . City attorney did not know anything was going – neither did City Manager Anita Favors ? Getting City and County approval for most anything -could be bought. The Jury is being worn out. Lost Two in one week. The defense is mind numbing. Judge has been on point.
Tallahassee did not desire this.
When is Gary Yordon’s trial? I haven’t seen his goofy lookin’ old lady on television for while, I’ll bet they are puckered up tighter than Dick’s hatband.
If I was a straight up criminal turning states evidence on straight up criminals with a lot more money than I have I would have my head on a swivel.
P.S. When I think about all the sanctimonious things that guy has looked right into the camera and spewed it makes me want to take up Voodoo.
What a corrupt piece of work that guy is…
You are probably correct as he is a convicted felon. Thank you for the info.
Burnette, John Thomas
Registered as Republican Party of Florida
Go online and check for yourself.
What are the odds a Republican gets a fair shake from this Judge?
@ Hope = There is one person so far signed up to run against Mayor Daily, and mister Whitfield Leland III, BUT, I believe he will be dropping out soon. Zero Money collected so far AND he has yet to File his June Campaign Report that was due no later than July 12th. The Fines will hurt a lot.
In 2014, TR did a piece indicating that the CRA kicked in $883,000 for improvements to the Doubletree Hotel. How did that happen???? I recall that downtown was considered a blighted area…to include First Baptist Church.
~ She was asked by Greg Kehoe, J.T. Burnette’s attorney, why she purchased the burner cell phones. “I didn’t want everyone in the world listening to conversations about my personal life, with my kids, my sister, my father,” she said.
Ok… sure… kind of like Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch only talked about golf and grandchildren… lol
~ However, when Miller introduced undercover agent Mike Sweets to Burnette in December 2015 to talk about the cannabis industry, he says Burnette became significantly more interested.
Hmmmm… one wonders if Nikki Weed and Bo eventually end up involved in this…
Why does Yordon escape prosecution and indictments? He knowingly started using his defunct company as cover.
More evidence that the chamber junket is just a playing ground for corruption to breed corruption. Shut it down!
The jury is still out with me regarding is J T more stupid or more corrupt?
If Commissioners aren’t smart enough to do a nationwide search for a new city manager then each commissioner should be recalled or voted out in the next election. There should be numerous people lining up to run for mayor on this platform.
Also, government should not pay for elected officials junkets in Sandestin and Amelia Island. And Sue Dick should be prosecuted for letting Yordon MC the chamber hussle for years.