City Attorney advises staff to not "speculate" about recent FBI probe

By: Mariel Carbone
June 28, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)—Tallahassee City Attorney Lew Shelley advised staff to not speculate about the recent FBI investigation into development deals in the Capital City.

"My suggestion is to not speculate... to not gossip if you will, about the investigation or the matters that are being requested,” said Shelley.

The FBI, handed out two subpoenas earlier this month. One, to the City of Tallahassee and the other to the Community Redevelopment Agency. The documents demand any communication, bids for proposals, applications, records and more from nearly two dozen business entities or people in Tallahassee.

Shelley said he is not aware of the circumstances of the investigation or the potential target.

“We have no idea what’s the genesis of this investigation. It is typical and not unusual for federal investigations to be very confidential and even secretive. It is not unusual that we don’t know these things. And it is not unusual that we will continue for some period of time to not know the status of this investigation,” he said.

Shelley did note that no city leaders, nor CRA members were named in the subpoenas.

Notables included on the documents include Paige Carter-Smith, Executive Director of the Downtown Improvement Authority; Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve; JT Burnette, a local developer who has worked on projects including Hotel Duval; and Adam Corey, developer of the City backed restaurant The Edison, as well as Mayor Andrew Gillum’s former campaign treasurer.

The City Attorney suggested that the commissioners focus on the matters that they have before them like the budget, and not be distracted or afraid of moving forward.

“(Moving forward) without further comment, without further speculation, in my opinion we will all be served well. And in fact, we will probably help speed up the investigation,” he said.

Shelley ensured the commission that the City will cooperate with the FBI. A grand jury hearing on the matter is set for July 11.

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