Probable cause found in ethics complaint against Gillum

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 25, 2019

Former Tallahassee Andrew Mayor Gillum in New York City with developer Adam Corey and an alleged undercover FBI agent.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that former mayor Andrew Gillum violated state ethics laws.

The findings came on Friday morning following a probable cause hearing. That hearing was closed to the public, however Gillum’s attorney, Barry Richard, and the complainant, Erwin Jackson, confirmed the information. Both said the commission found probable cause on five allegations.

"Hopefully the word is getting out that we expect our elected officials to act ethically and honestly,” said Jackson, who filed the complaint in 2017.

Jackson accused Gillum of accepting gifts from a city lobbyist after WCTV broke a story showing Gillum on a boat trip in New York City with former lobbyist Adam Corey and an alleged undercover FBI agent who was investigating political corruption in Tallahassee.

According to Richard, the findings surround three issues, including the New York City Boat trip, a ticket to see the Broadway show Hamilton and a room in Costa Rica. All of which were alleged gifts from Corey, are believed to be over $100 and Gillum did not report. However, Richard said the commission found no probable cause that Gillum solicited the gifts or that they had direct impacts on any city vote.

"There's no evidence in this case, and no allegation, that he ever did anything for anybody as a quid pro quo for receiving a gift,” he said.

Richard also said Gillum believes he did nothing wrong.

"We have honest politicians that are not constantly thinking forward about how things are going to look to the voters. They think, 'I’m not doing anything wrong, and people understand that,'” he said.

He also criticized the complaint because he said Jackson had no direct knowledge on the allegations. And, noted Corey refused to cooperate in a deposition.

Next, the case will go to an evidentiary hearing, which will be a public hearing in front of an independent judge. Richard said Gillum preferred this type of hearing all along so the public can hear the facts. He expects that to be scheduled in 45 to 60 days with the Department of Administrative Hearings.

Meanwhile, Jackson said he hopes to rid the city of corrupt leaders.

"I am sick and tired of the corruption in Tallahassee,” he said.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 25, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Ethics Commission has found probable cause that former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum broke state ethics laws.

The complaint was filed after WCTV broke a story placing Gillum in New York City with lobbyist Adam Corey and an alleged undercover FBI agent who was investigating political corruption in Tallahassee.

The commission met Friday morning to review the complaint and ruled there was probable cause against Gillum.

Gillum's attorney Barry Richard said the probable cause is that the then-mayor accepted gifts over a $100 threshold, but not that he solicited gifts.

Probable cause does not mean "guilt" or "innocence." Richard says the case will now go to a public evidentiary hearing in front of an independent judge.

The ethics complaint was filed last year by local businessman Erwin Jackson. He accuses Gillum of accepting gifts from lobbyists on two separate occasions. First, on a 2016 trip to Costa Rica, which was organized by former city lobbyist Adam Corey. Corey was a longtime friend of Gillum. Second, on that 2016 trip to New York City, where Gillum was photographed on a boat ride with Corey and an alleged undercover FBI agent.

Gillum has maintained that he did nothing wrong. He said he paid his own way for the trip to Costa Rica. As for the trip to New York, he said he was on a work trip for his former employer People for the American Way Foundation. The boat trip was done in his free time.

“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that Mayor Gillum has consistently conducted himself in accordance with the
law," Richard said.

"We now have the opportunity to have this case heard before an independent judge... I am confident the judge will agree with our conclusion,” Gillum's lawyer said.



 
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