Federal Subpoena Demands Records On Andrew Gillum: ‘Somebody Is Out To Damage’ Him Politically

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Written by Ann Brown
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks at a campaign stop in his bid for governor, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Crawfordville, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Andrew Gillum was nearly elected the first Black governor of Florida, losing by a small margin in the 2018 election. Now, federal investigators are demanding information from Gillum, his campaign, and his political committee and have issued a subpoena. Some say this is all politically motivated.

The federal grand jury subpoena is also requesting information from Gillum’s former employer, a wealthy donor, and a charity where he worked.

Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee, settled a state ethics case last month, agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine for receiving gifts from a lobbyist, according to the Washington Times.

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Last year of Gillum’s one-time colleague, City Commissioner Scott Maddox, former Downtown Improvement Authority Executive Director Paige Carter-Smith, and wealthy developer John “J.T.” Burnette, were indicted.

“A federal grand jury in Tallahassee issued at least one subpoena dated March 26 involving Gillum and his campaign, a source with knowledge of the matter told the Tallahassee Democrat. Listed on the subpoena was Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Kunz, who is heading up the Maddox prosecution, and an FBI agent whose name hasn’t appeared on previously reported subpoenas,” Tallahassee.com reported.

One of the subpoenas seeks records dating back to January 2015, “during Gillum’s first year as mayor, along with more recent records involving his gubernatorial campaign and his political action committee, Forward Florida, which raised nearly $37 million for the election, though more money has come in since.”

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, one of Gillum’s oldest and closest political advisers, and her public relations firm P&P Communications, were also mentioned in a subpoena.

“We ran an open and honest campaign,” Gillum said in the release. “A campaign powered by thousands of volunteers and supporters. A campaign that captured imaginations and earned over four million votes. When you run a campaign that puts the power in the hands of the people and fights for change, it inevitably invites close scrutiny, regardless of the facts. We stand ready to assist any future review of our work, because I am confident we always did the right thing and complied fully with the law.”

Barry Richard, who represented Gillum in the ethics proceedings, said: “There is obviously someone or some group that is determined to damage Gillum’s political career,” Richard said. “And anytime anybody complains to the FBI or makes a suggestion of wrongdoing, they’re going to investigate it. And in my experience, they will continue to investigate it until they’re satisfied one way or the other. The fact that they investigate it, means that they are doing their job, not that they suspect any guilt.”