Tallahassee City Hall served new federal subpoena

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By: Julie Montanaro, Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 15, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new subpoena was just issued in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into downtown development deals in Tallahassee.

The subpoena, dated September 6th, seeks five years worth of communications from Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox, any of his aides, Downtown Improvement Authority CEO Paige Carter Smith and media/political consultant Gary Yordon.

Specifically, it seeks communication from Maddox as both an individual and a commissioner; any of Maddox’s aides both formal and informal and including but not limited to Allie Merzer Fleming and Paige Carter-Smith; Plus Yordon and Carter-Smith in her capacity at the CEO of the Downtown Improvement Authority.

The subpoena demands copies of all communications from January 2012 to present, including emails, letters and memoranda.

The documents are due to the U.S. District Courthouse by 9 a.m. on October 3.

Commissioner Scott Maddox was unavailable for comment, but released this statement:

“While I am unaware of any specifics in this inquiry, it is clear that I am included in the big net currently being cast. As my voting record clearly shows, I have always protected the taxpayers' money and advocated in their best interest. This community knows how responsive my office has been to their needs and that will not waver as we cooperate fully with whatever is asked of us.”

His aide, Allie Fleming, said she stands by that statement.

Gary Yordon says he worked at Governance Inc. for about six years and left there about 3 and a half years ago. Governance, although not named in this subpoena, was named in the previous two issued to the City of Tallahassee and the Community Redevelopment Agency. That company is tied to Maddox and Carter-Smith.

Yordon said of the subpoena, "I’m not concerned about it. There’s nothing to be concerned about if you haven’t done anything wrong... This is how the process works… They want more information and they’re going to track things down... I was an employee at Governance and in all the years I was there the only money I made was my salary... I never met with undercover FBI agent Mike Miller and I was involved in zero land transactions."

Yordon is president of the Zachary Group, a media and political consulting Firm, He also produces and hosts the weekly show "The Usual Suspects," which airs on WCTV.

WCTV has reached out to Carter-Smith but has not heard back. She was also named in the prior two subpoenas, issued in June.

After hearing the news, some commissioners have expressed disappointment and shock.

“I’m still waiting to get a better understanding at what they’re looking for,” said Commissioner Gil Ziffer. “Until we have a better understanding I’m at a loss.” He also said he’s concerned because this involves his government, noting it’s all the more reason to continue pushing for a stronger ethics code.

“I’m very shocked and surprised, as everyone else is,” said Commissioner Curtis Richardson, noting those named in the latest subpoena are colleagues and friends.

Back on June 14, the FBI issued two subpoenas. Those were dated June 11. One went to the City of Tallahassee and the other to the Community Redevelopment Agency. The documents demanded any communication, bids for proposals, applications, records and more from two dozen business entities or people in Tallahassee.

Among that list are 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.

To view the subpoena, click here.

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