The political action committee Forward Florida, which supported Andrew Gillum’s 2018 campaign for governor of Florida and paid for his legal costs related to an FBI investigation and other transgressions, has been disbanded.
Cynthia Stafford, a Democratic politician from Miami, said she could see the handwriting on the wall as Gillum’s troubles mounted following his razor-thin loss to Ron DeSantis in 2018.
“Well, around I believe June last year, I remember reading how in 2016, while Gillum was mayor [of Tallahassee] and some undercover agents noticed some corruption in the city which was directed to him,” Stafford said. “That is when the FBI started to notice the alleged scam.”
Gillum has been under investigation for years. The state ethic commission charged him with accepting gifts from lobbyists and special interests while mayor of Tallahassee. Gillum has also been the subject of a federal investigation in addition to the statewide probe of possible ethics violations. He settled with the state, agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine.
Among the gifts he accepted were tickets to the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” in New York City.
There was also a free ride around the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor provided by an undercover FBI agent posing as a potential developer with a company called Southern Pines.
Stafford, in Miami, provided more information on the case and how Gillum and his co-defendant will be on trial starting in April.
The trial will be held in Federal Court in Tallahassee. Gillum is facing more than 19 felony counts primarily for wire fraud. Last year his co-defendant, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, is facing many of the same charges.
One of Gillum’s donations to Forward Florida was about $250,000, but it was alleged that some money from the PAC went into his pockets instead of being given to those who were in need.
There’s a well of enough evidence to prove his wrongdoings, based on what’s been shared in pre-trial motions. There are notices from the state showing failed monthly reports.
Forward Florida has assisted with lawyers for Gillum. In 2018 the PAC had raised an estimated $38 million.
At the moment, there has not been any further information released on this case. Gillum’s attempts to have the case dismissed were unsuccessful.
Gillum, a former student body president at Florida A&M University, was elected to the Tallahassee City Commission while he was still in college. He became the youngest member ever on the commission.
After two full terms in office, he ran for mayor of Tallahassee and won his seat in the primary with an overwhelming percentage of the vote.