Downtown Improvement Authority votes not to take action against CEO, for now

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 12, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- After a 4-3 vote, Tallahassee's Downtown Improvement Authority has moved to not take any action regarding the status of CEO Paige Carter-Smith.

This comes after a local watchdog organization called for Carter-Smith to be suspended from her post, without pay.

Instead, the DIA says it will direct all questions concerning the matter to the City Attorney’s Office and will revisit the topic at the next meeting.

"Paige's responsibility is meeting with the business community,
the city, the county and so we need to maintain their trust and respect. And my job is the integrity of this authority. And that's what I worry about. We're just going to have to be vigilant," said Chris Dudley, Chair of the DIA.

Carter-Smith was named in a federal search warrant issued in an ongoing corruption investigation that accuses City Commissioner Scott Maddox of bribery and conspiracy. The warrant alleges Maddox was accepting bribes through his former consulting company Governance Inc., which Carter-Smith now operates.


By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 9, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A local watchdog organization is calling for the director of the Downtown Improvement Authority to be suspended from her post, without pay.

Paige Carter-Smith was hired as CEO of the DIA back in 2016. She was named in a federal search warrant issued in an ongoing corruption investigation that accuses City Commissioner Scott Maddox of bribery and conspiracy. The warrant alleges Maddox was accepting bribes through his former consulting company Governance Inc., which Carter-Smith now operates. The warrant came to light Monday after the Tallahassee Democrat published it.

Barney Bishop, founder of Citizens for Responsible Spending, is the one pushing for her suspension.

"I think it's the right thing to do. And I think for our taxpayers we have to instill trust in our government and I think we have to instill trust in the different authorities and the appointed boards that we have. And so I think the time has come," said Bishop.

The DIA is funded through an ad-valorem tax, paid by residents living in the downtown district. Additionally, the City of Tallahassee provides $15,000 annually for the Downtown Marketplace.

The authority is most widely known for putting on the Downtown Get Down during football season. It also works to revitalize the downtown district through public improvements, events, beautification and more.

Chris Dudley is the Chairman of the authority. He said the board will discuss Carter-Smith's status at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday.

"I think as far as the work of the authority, it's going to be full speed ahead. The obvious issue we have to address on Monday is what the board wants to do as it relates to Paige and her status," he said.

Claudia Davant, Vice Chair of the authority, said via email, "I am looking forward to the TDIA meeting on Monday so we can discuss publicly what if any action we need to take to preserve the best interests of our community... it is my intention to honor the integrity of my role as Vice Chair of the TDIA board and to assess only
the facts as presented on Monday."

WCTV has reached out to Carter-Smith's attorney, but has not yet heard back.

The meeting is set for noon.



 
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