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Ethics complaint filed against Tallahassee mayoral candidate

Photo via Dustin Daniels
Photo via Dustin Daniels(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 3, 2018 at 5:24 PM EDT
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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

October 3, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – A state ethics complaint has been launched against a Tallahassee mayoral candidate.

The complaint was filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics Tuesday by Jennings Lawton DePriest. It accuses Dustin Daniels, the former Chief of Staff for Mayor Andrew Gillum and current candidate for Mayor, of misuse of power. DePriest is a supporter of John Dailey, who is running against Daniels in the November election.

The complaint refers to a grand jury investigation that looked into the purchase of campaign software, NGP VAN, by Mayor Gillum’s Office. Roughly $5,000 in city funds were used for that software, which Gillum reimbursed.

The investigation ultimately found no evidence of criminal intent by Daniels, or the Mayor’s Office.

The grand jury report on the matter was published back in August of 2017 and found that more than 100 blast emails were sent from the Mayor’s Office using the system. A majority of those emails were about city events like the Longest Table. However, four were political in nature.

The report also said that Gillum himself never actually used the software. And that it was Daniels, not Gillum, who directed city funds to pay for it.

In a statement Daniels said, “This claim is baseless, and it shows that my opponent is willing to do anything to distract voters from his failed years as an establishment politician. If he’s going to continue to use Trump tactics, I encourage him to switch his party now.”

Dailey has denied any involvement in the ethics complaint.

"Unequivocally I am not involved. My campaign is not involved at all," he said.

He also noted, "I have been a life long democrat, but I look forward to being a Mayor of all of Tallahassee."

In response to the complaint, Evan Power, Chairman of the Leon County Republic Party wrote in an email, "I am pleased that an ethics complaint was filed. The culture of corruption at City Hall has put a dark cloud over our Government. It is clear that Dustin was a large part of that culture under Mayor Andrew Gillum and is not ready to serve as Mayor of Tallahassee."

Power concluded the email by asking readers to donate to the Republic Party.

The Florida Commission on Ethics operates in secrecy. There is no saying if or when it’ll investigate the complaint.