Headline Ten Years Ago: “Corruption in Tallahassee? FBI to Decide.”

Headline Ten Years Ago: “Corruption in Tallahassee? FBI to Decide.”

On March 29th, 2011, Tallahassee Reports published the story below based on information provided by people who were concerned about how business was being conducted in City Hall.

Over ten years later, the conclusion of a federal public corruption trial revealed what many people knew then – there was corruption in Tallahassee.

Why did it take years to unmask the unethical and illegal dealings that were taking place in our community? More on that later.

Corruption in Tallahassee? FBI to Decide.

Tallahassee Reports
March 29, 2011

On September 15, 2010, Commissioners Ziffer, Lightsey, and Gillum joined forces with Mayor John Marks to approve the city’s participation in a $1.6 million federal grant with partners that included the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) and The Go Beyond Foundation.

The federal grant won by the city of Tallahassee was part of a program administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with the goal to expand access to broadband services in the United States. The federal government provided $4.7 billion to NTIA to establish the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to increase broadband access and adoption; provide broadband training and support to schools, libraries, healthcare providers, and other organizations; improve broadband access to public safety agencies; and stimulate demand for broadband.

The federal grant was secured by an application written and submitted to the NTIA by Carrie Blanchard, on March 13, 2010. At the time, she was the chief aide to Mayor John Marks.

After talking to sources, it has been determined that several documents have been turned over to the FBI because of concern about the relationship between Mayor John Marks and the vendors included in the grant application.

Sources indicate there are primarily three concerns. First it appears that the two vendors, Alliance Digital for Equality and Go Beyond were included in the grant application, which originated in the Mayor’s office, without a competitive bid process.

Atlanta-Based COT Vendor Turned Down By Feds Seven Times in Two Years – Tallahassee Reports

Second, Mayor Marks serves on the board of Alliance Digital for Equality and has received approximately $66,000 in compensation since 2007. And finally, Mayor Marks, on September 15, 2010, voted to partner with ADE without abstaining or disclosing his financial relationship with ADE.

On September 16, 2010 John Marks accepted the federal grant by signing a US Department of Commerce document that obligated the signer to follow specific federal rules. The federal rules the Mayor agreed to follow address how vendors are selected and the existence of potential conflicts of interest.

The federal rules state “all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition.” Sources indicate that no open competition existed for the awards given to Go Beyond and ADE. A search of Commission records revealed no evidence of a request for proposal addressing the program.

With regard to conflicts of interest, federal rules state the following:

“No employee, officer or agent of the grantee…shall participate in selection, or in the award or administration of a contract supported by Federal funds if a conflict of interest, real or apparent, would be involved. Such a conflict would arise when the employee, officer or agent….has a financial or other interest in the firm selected for award.”

Federal tax filings list Mayor Marks as an Alliance for Digital Equality board member and show that Mayor Marks was paid $19,000 in 2007, $24,000 in 2008 and $23,000 in 2009. The Alliance for Digital Equality website currently lists Mayor Marks as a member of their board of advisors. Sources tell Tallahassee Reports that Mayor Marks did receive payments from ADE in 2010.

Tallahassee Reports will post supporting documents related to this story on March 29th at 4:00 pm.

14 Responses to "Headline Ten Years Ago: “Corruption in Tallahassee? FBI to Decide.”"

  1. “…poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!”
    Who tweeted that almost 3 years ago on Oct. 29, 2018 at 10:54AM?

  2. Steve:
    Here’s an investigative challenge for you.
    Do an FOI request to the city of Tallahassee for any emails sent by Scott Maddox to Bob Gabordi (bgabordi@tallahassee.com). Or any emails sent using the word Gabordi.
    Go back to August, 2005.
    Let’s all find out, once and for all, what the little tyrant knew about his “walking buddy’s” felonious activities, and when he knew them.

    The resulting story might just be a journalistic blockbuster.

  3. Brilliant summation @Snidely on the absolute corruption of Florida’s Capital District and the world’s largest terrorist organization, the FBI, forever keeping the Deep State afloat.

  4. Agreed that the Dems have fallen… in this week alone… Cuomo, Afghanistan, gas prices, a court ruling against Biden regarding the border, and The Reckless idiotic speech that our own State Attorney made at the Amelia Island junket made him the worst state attorney in America.

    Even the Tallahassee Democrat agrees as they published a picture of the state attorney entitled EVIL! What state attorney goes on a political rant at a business meeting and disparages another politician’s private business in an attempt for political gain, you just don’t do that at a business function. Anyone running against Jack Campbell you have just been handed a big PR gift. What could be better than the Tallahassee Democrat declaring State Attorney Jack Campbell EVIL! They did include the very eloquent statement by the politician Jack Campbell attempted to disparage. Tallahassee Democrat loser of the year is Jack Campbell.

    I bet the Florida Bar hears about this one, Jack.

  5. OK I will pretend everyone does not know why it took so long and explain it as if speaking to a child, a new citizen to our area, or a Democrat.
    Back in mid 2014 Hillary Clinton announced Andrew Gillum was on her Vice Presidential short list as a running mate to the highest elected office in the world. Around about that time this “investigation” began basically as a means to gather dirt on others thus protecting Gillum from himself. The investigation was slow walked for the next 2 years as a means of protecting Gillum. In the next few months the FBI confirmed the investigation involved a lot of locals 99% of them being Democrats.
    Then, following the time line, it became known Gillum was running for Florida’s Governor. Because of Gillums involvement in criminal activities related to the investigation the FBI determined that in order to protect Gillum the investigation was further slowed down again to protect Gillum.
    After Gillum lost the Governors race he became less useful to the left but the FBI by that time was into the investigation too deep to shut it down. At the very least it would have made the FBI look like useful idiots for the left if they shut it down.
    Carrying on with the time line to more current times the FBI was anxious to get out from under this investigation and find a way out.
    Enter the plan to get the assistance from good Democratic Party loyalists Scott, Paige, along with leftist sympathizer Judge Hinkle. Basically Scott and Paige agree to give up the one and only Republican Burnett in exchange for a light wrist slap from Hinkle.
    Carrying on the time line to today everyone pretends they dont know why it took so long in order to maintain good relationships with our local elected officials. Most of whom would have been sentenced to prison 8 years ago if this had been a real investigation rather than an effective but also an inept bumbling drawn out attempt to protect Gillum.
    Actually I do not believe this investigation had anything to do with anything Erwin Jackson did or did not do.

  6. I am running for Leon County Commissioner District 5, (hawkins2022.com). I have lived in Leon County for over 50 Years, it is my Home. I can NOT be Bought and I promise to NEVER sell out Leon County or the Citizens there in. I want to help move Leon County in a Positive Direction.

  7. Make no mistake about folks… corruption remains free-flowing through the political pipelines of City Hall, and further permeates the entire City Operation. They will hand you Burnette on a silver platter, and hope you will be satisfied and move on to the latest Twidiot post.

    On another note… soon America-hating taliban terrorists will also be free-flowing through Dementia Joe’s treasonous Open Border operation.

    Be aware of your surroundings at all times, watch your six, embrace your God-given rights, and do your Constitutional duty to protect yourself, your family, and OUR Nation.

  8. I had e-mail communications with ADE in 2011 and they could not tell me where the computers go and they told me they did not keep an inventory of the computers.

  9. Evilmen! Jack Campbell State Attorney!

    Governor Ron DeSantis please remove this buffoon from office immediately before he does more harm to the public at large. He is misusing funds to attend events where he misuses a platform, he decries our basic Liberty of Freedom of Speech.

    This buffoon protects pedophiles and misuses his resources in office to protect them. He misuses his resources and uses pedophiles as weapons in retaliation to whistleblowers. Please investigate Jack Campbell he is a danger to this community!

  10. Just imagine what our current govt is getting up to that we will find out later. Power corrupts. Be sure not to reelect anyone in office to make sure more people share power and keep govt small.

  11. If anyone wants to read a piece of drivel in the Tallahassee Democrat today by Mary Ann Lindley it is waiting.

    Her lack of self-awareness thinking she was even close to being a credible journalist is mind-boggling. She was an enabler, promoter, and PR shill to the corruption making her part of the problem.

    Her screed only verifies how oblivious and arrogant she was to it yet participating in it to use as stepping stones into public office, where she could do further destruction.

    It is so jumbled and quite unreadable good luck making it through it (I could not). I would suggest taking a medication for nausea before reading..

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