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.”
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
Yup, they are taught and learn how to be corrupt very early in their political careers but this time he got caught with the goods. Sorry Andy but your political career is now over. Maybe you can find a job cooking fries at McDonald’s.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
So far I am impressed with De Santis. He seems to have his own mind and is able to connect with we the people. That was not my previous impression of him – I thought he was a c
Concerned Citizen says
I’m laughing at Mr. Trumps Tweet.
President Donald Trump tweeted that Gillum was a “thief” who oversees one of the country’s “most corrupt cities.”
I suppose if the shoe fits…
Mr G. says
yes more corruption lets prosecute ..lets see him charged thank the FLA Voters for keeping this crook from being Governor .. IMAGINE THE CORRUPTION that would be Running Out of Control in the Gov’s office had he Won !!
Alphonse Abonte says
I don’t always talk to young Democrats, but when I do, I tell them I want large fries, no onions. The Dems are lining up for the 2020 election, should be around 18 or so by September. All of the so called candidates are fighting for position. Should be a good show. AOC should be moderator. Let the games begin! So far we HAVE
•Former Vice President Joe Biden. A HANDS ON POLITICIAN
•Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.-A BEETLE BAILEY LOOK ALIKE
•Sen. Sherrod Brown.-WHO?
•Sen. Cory Booker.-SPARTACUS
•Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. STOP RUNNING FROM DALLAS
•Rep. John Delaney.-NOT WELL KNOWN
•Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.-JUNIOR SENATOR WHO IS WHITE IS TO UNDERSELL WHITENESS
•Sen. Kamala Harris.-MISTRESS OF WILLIE BROWN, FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR
Well,there is more to come, if the Democrats put ALL their current people available, Trump will have an easy win in 2020. Thanks for the time.
A crooked politician? I am shocked. And a Democrat no less, Surprises me even more.
This doesn’t look good at all for Gilliam. After the announcement he was hired by CNN. That’s can’t be a good sign. Plus they’ll know for sure when the FBI is going to raid his house.
I knew he was a snake from the get go , makes me even happier that I voted for Desantis
AIRBNB funneled 10 Million dollars into the Gillum campaign. This is the same company destroying our neighborhoods. Our legislators need to repeal 2011 Florida Senate Bill 883. They need to give our local governments the ability to regulate these transient public lodging establishments in addition to using their local property zoning that was put in place to keep incompatible uses from operating in our residential neighborhoods. These companies need to be controlled now!
Concerned Citizen says
Last Friday morning another Trump associate was arrested by the FBI. Mueller is slowly pecking away at the inner circle. Eventually they will get the one that tells all. Mr. Trump it’s just a matter of time.
I’m reminded of the Humpty Dumpty rhime. The higher you are on the wall. The harder you fall.
YES! We should absolutely hold “ALL” UNETHICAL politicians accountable! Let’s begin at the top, shall we:
Then there is this list:
There is much more. . . but, of course despicable trump will be given a pass by his cult.
EQUAL JUSTICE? I think NOT!
Jim O says
This will all be swept under the rug by the Dems and blown off as a nothing burger. They love that saying…