Tallahassee Businessman J.T. Burnette Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Role in Corruption Scheme

Tallahassee Businessman J.T. Burnette Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Role in Corruption Scheme

United States District Judge Robert Hinkle sentenced local businessman, J.T Burnette, 44, to three years in federal prison for his role in a local corruption scheme. Burnette was also fined $1.25 million.

Burnette’s defense team said they would appeal.

On August 13th after a fifteen-day trial, a federal jury in Tallahassee found Burnette guilty of one count of extortion, two counts of mail fraud, one violation of the Travel Act and lying to the government. He was found not guilty on several other counts.

The Case

In December 2018, a federal grand jury charged Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith in a forty-four count indictment. In May 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment adding Burnette as a defendant. Maddox and Carter-Smith subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of Honest Services Fraud by Bribery and one count of Conspiring to Interfere with the Lawful Function of the IRS. In October 2019, a grand jury returned a second superseding indictment against Burnette.

At trial, the government presented evidence that Burnette engaged in a multi-year scheme with Maddox and Carter-Smith to commit extortion, fraud, and bribery. During the scheme, Burnette and Maddox extorted bribe payments from FBI undercover agents (“UCs”) who were posing as real estate developers and entrepreneurs. Burnette instructed the UCs that to obtain preferential treatment, they must pay bribes to Maddox through Governance Services. Burnette, Maddox, Carter-Smith, and the UCs agreed that the UCs would pay Governance Services $10,000 per month in exchange for Maddox agreeing to perform official acts meant to benefit the UCs’ sham development company.

In 2017, FBI agents approached Burnette, identified themselves as FBI agents, and asked Burnette about his involvement in the bribe payments to Maddox. During the interview, Burnette repeatedly lied about his knowledge of the UCs’ payments to and involvement with Maddox.

On September 9th, former Mayor and Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to public corruption.

Maddox business associate, Paige Carte-Smith, was sentenced to two years for her role in the illegal acts.

11 Responses to "Tallahassee Businessman J.T. Burnette Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Role in Corruption Scheme"

  1. @ Stanley,

    I don’t know why you are including Wayne Tedder.

    Perhaps you should file ethics complaints against the city manager and county administrator for their involvement in allowing and facilitating so much corruption. Then there would be something to report.

  2. Notice how Tallahasssee Reports left out top level City management like Wayne Tedder, Reese Goad, and Ben who was identified as key players in the whole criminal acts…. They are still currently controlling a billion dollar budget!!

    Now that’s “White Privilege!”

  3. Gary Yordon was doing the same thing Paige Carter Smith was doing which was funneling money through his business (or bank account) which was defunct. The money then went to Scott Maddox.

    Gary Yordon was doing it years before Paige Carter Smith was in the picture. Maddox gave him ownership of his business with the agreement written out on a napkin. Then they did it with Waste Pro…

    The local governments city and county managers and administrators give contracts to Sean Pittman which is really a payment for elected officials using Pitman as their campaign manager as in Sheriff Walt McNeil.

    Nancy Miller was giving taxpayer funds to Gary Yordon and he was her campaign manager.

    The city was giving a six-figure settlement to Gil Ziffer’s wife.

    The city and county allow the horrendous development Boulos on Apalachee Parkway.
    Instead of the Tallahassee Democrat investigating it they promote it and failed to write a disclaimer that it was a paid for article by Boulos.

    And most recently the city is implementing an ID card scam which is a setup for voter fraud at taxpayers expense. It was put into play without a plan showing the need for it and a no-bid contract to Democratic Party operatives.

    The mayor is currently using the City of Tallahassee television station WCOT to make TV campaign ads disguised as promoting Tallahassee. This is theft of taxpayer funds in tens of thousands of dollars or more. The mayor’s opponents in this race have been given a gift. The mayor was caught doing this several years ago with a local TV car dealership.

    The mayor recently participated in theft of city time and resources due to the time he spent on his political party’s abortion agenda to promote his re-election campaign.

    Not only are they misusing their positions and tax dollars, they expend time and energy away from the service they took an oath to perform and using it for their own political and personal gain.

    I hear that Mr Erwin Jackson will have some interesting information today at the city commission meeting?

  4. None will even serve as long as our country’s political prisoners still sitting in a DC jail for trespassing on their own property.

  5. Attorney Tim Jansen says hes going to appeal and he should. The appeal will be very interesting if they can get an honest Judge next time. If they get an honest judge look out for the entertaining fit to hit the shan regarding the outing of leftist tool Hinkle and the leftist tool orginazation known as The FBI.

  6. Paige Carter Smith should have received probation and Scott Maddox and J. T. Burnette split the difference of her sentence.

  7. It took 10 years to catch those crooks (thank you Irwin Jackson) and none of them are going to serve half that amount of time. Its good to be rich and connected in Leon County…

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