A state ethics panel in Florida said Friday it found “probable cause” to indicate that Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum violated ethics laws in 2016 and that a case filed against him should proceed.
The commission ruled that Gillum, whose campaign against now-Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) devolved into allegations of racism, accepted “things of value” that were aimed at influencing his actions in an official capacity, and that he had reason to know such gives exceeded state limits but did not report them.
According to Florida law, elected officials are prohibited from accepting gives worth more than $100, CNN reported.
The mayor’s lawyer, Barry Richard, told the Miami Herald that an administrative law judge is going to hear the case within 60 days.
“We’re going to have a full evidentiary hearing before an independent judge. It’ll be open to the public, and everybody can decide for themselves,” he said. “There for sure will be no settlement.”
Erwin Jackson, a Tallahassee businessman who filed the complaint, said he was pleased with Friday’s outcome.
“This is a victory for the good ones,” he said.
“Hopefully the word is getting out that we expect our elected officials to act ethically and honestly and represent the public instead of continuing to represent themselves,” he said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Charges leveled against Gillum claim that he accepted a ticket to the Broadway show “Hamilton” as well as a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty during a visit in 2016 to New York City.
The Tallahassee mayor also stayed for several nights at a Costa Rican villa that belonged to lobbyist Adam Corey, according to the allegations.
Gillum hasn’t denined the trips took place, but he said that he covered all expenses incurred by him out of his own pocket.
The charges against Gillum say that he accepted a ticket to the Broadway show “Hamilton” and a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty during a 2016 visit to New York City. Gillum also stayed several nights at a Costa Rican villa belonging to lobbyist Adam Corey, the charges claim.
The allegations surfaced during the gubernatorial race, as DeSantis mentioned them during their final debate in October.
At the time the FBI was conducting a corruption investigation into the city government in Tallahassee. Gillum was not charged in that investigation, however.
Gillum tried to dismiss the ticket to Hamilton as a non-issue, but DeSantis, who narrowly defeated him, noted, “He wants you to believe that he’s not under investigation.
“Why would an undercover FBI agent posing as a contractor give him a $1,000 ticket to ‘Hamilton?’”
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