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Andrew Gillum reaches settlement with Florida Commission on Ethics

Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:13:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After months of investigating, the Florida Commission on Ethics is likely to settle its case with Andrew Gillum.

The former Tallahassee mayor was in court Wednesday morning, ready to testify at a hearing.

Both sides were behind closed doors for two hours, working on this deal.

It still needs to be approved by the Ethics Commission, but the agreement would drop four of the five charges against Gillum.

He'd still have to pay a $5,000 fine for the last charge. That was for accepting a gift of more than $100 from a lobbyist.

Gillum was in good spirits Wednesday. Before heading into court, he said he didn't break any ethics laws and was ready to set the record straight.

After court adjourned, his attorney described how some of the allegations didn't add up and that Gillum didn't do anything wrong on a 2016 trip to Costa Rica. But he did explain the one charge that wasn't thrown out.

"From Mayor Gillum's standpoint, it was the boat ride around the Statue of Liberty that he took with people that were his friends, and it just didn't occur to him that one of them was also a lobbyist and that he wasn't supposed to accept the gift," said Barry Richard, attorney for Andrew Gillum.

That lobbyist was Adam Corey. He was not in court. He went on the trips to New York and Costa Rica.

As for Gillum, he said now he can focus on other missions, including his goal to get a million Floridians registered to vote.

Former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum and the Florida Commission on Ethics have reached a settlement in his ethics case.

Settlement documents note that four of the five charges against Gillum were dropped. As part of the settlement on the last charge for accepting a gift worth more than $100 from a lobbyist, Gillum will pay a $5,000 fine.

A panel with the Florida Commission on Ethics unanimously found probable cause that Andrew Gillum, last year’s Democratic nominee for governor and a former Tallahassee mayor, violated ethics laws with trips to Costa Rica and New York and tickets to the Broadway hit musical, “Hamilton.”

According to the News Service of Florida, a 41-page report from the commission’s advocate, lawyer Elizabeth A. Miller, rebuked the former mayor for allegedly accepting gifts from Tallahassee entrepreneur Adam Corey and undercover FBI agents posing as developers.

Gillum denied the allegations before the case was settled, saying that he didn't break any ethics laws and looks forward to setting the record straight.