It is being reported that failed Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate and potential presidential candidate Andrew Gillum violated state ethics laws when he served as mayor of Tallahassee.
According to a report from the Daily Caller, Tallahassee businessman Erwin Jackson filed complaints against Gillum.
As a result, the Florida Ethics Commission claimed to have found “probable cause” that Gillum violated five of six counts.
From the report:
In the complaints, Jackson alleged that Gillum, in his capacity as mayor, accepted gifts from lobbyists on multiple occasions. The first occasion was a trip to Costa Rica and the secondwas a trip to New York, according to WCTV. Both involved Gillum’s longtime friend and former campaign manager, Adam Corey, who is the focus of an extensive FBI investigation.
Records were released in October showing that an undercover FBI agent gave him tickets to a Broadway show, undermining his claims that he received the gift from his brother.
Barry Richard, Gillum’s attorney, revealed that the state’s ethics commission found probable cause that Gillum accepted gifts above the $100 threshold.
He added that probable cause has not been determined for the solicitation of gifts. But the he doesn’t make it clear if it determined that there was no probable cause or if it’s still investigating that allegation.
“We’re going to have a full evidentiary hearing before an independent judge. It’ll be open to the public, and everybody can decide for themselves,” Richard said. “There for sure will be no settlement.”
Erwin Jackson celebrated the announcement as ” a victory for the good ones,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“All five counts on which probable cause was found involve two trips Gillum took with lobbyist and former friend Adam Corey before Gillum launched his campaign for governor, according to commission documents obtained by the Herald/Times,” the Tampa Bay Times continued. “A report authored by an advocate for the state commission late last year recommended that investigation on those counts — largely involving Gillum’s stay at a villa in Costa Rica, and a boat trip and Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ tickets in New York City — proceed.”
The report’s recommendations were largely on the basis that Gillum accepted gifts and “things of value” when he understood his official actions would be influenced, “in return for access and influence,” or when he knew or should have known they were intended to influence his actions. The report also recommended probable cause be found that Gillum accepted gifts on those trips knowing or “reasonably believ[ing]” they exceeded the state $100 limit, and that he failed to report gifts he received.
The sixth count, alleging Gillum solicited a gift from a lobbyist doing business with the city, was found by the commission to have no probable cause.
The trips in question occurred amid an FBI investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee, and both became flash points during Gillum’s unsuccessful run for governor.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.