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Paige Carter-Smith's lawyer says payments to Scott Maddox's family were not unlawful

Local watchdog group calls for Paige Carter-Smith's suspension
Posted at 3:55 PM, Feb 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 11:04:11-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Paige Carter-Smith, the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority's executive director, is speaking out after news broke that she is the subject of an FBI bribery investigation.

Carter-Smith and city commissioner Scott Maddox were listed in an FBI search warrant. The company 'Governance, Inc.,' which Maddox owned and reportedly sold to Carter-Smith, was also listed in the warrant.

Investigators say, the company funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Maddox's pocket once she became the owner. 

WTXL received the statement from the law office of Stephen G. Webster on Friday.

In it, Carter-Smith's attorney says that "the information that has thus far been supplied to the media and reported on is in many instances incomplete or distorted." 

The statement says that the money exchanged between Carter-Smith and the Maddox family were repayments for a loan used to purchase real estate from Maddox family.

"Recent news reports have referenced payments that Paige Carter-Smith has made to the Maddox family over the past several years. The purpose of this statement is to provide much needed context surrounding those payments.

In 2008, Paige Carter-Smith purchased real estate from the Maddox family and signed a promissory note which outlined the terms for her repayment of that loan. The contract was prepared by counsel and included a reasonable interest rate on the note.

As such, the payments between Paige Carter-Smith and the Maddox family were in furtherance of servicing the debt she lawfully incurred and owed.

Any attempt to categorize these debt payments as unlawful is without basis in fact. The information that has thus far been supplied to the media and reported on is in many instances incomplete or distorted.

Ms. Carter-Smith is intent on correcting the record and providing the appropriate context when the appropriate time comes, but the importance of correcting the record as to her repayment of the loan could not be ignored."


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A local government watchdog group is calling for the suspension of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority's executive director after she was named as part of an FBI bribery investigation.

Paige Carter-Smith, along with city commissioner Scott Maddox were listed in a search warrant affidavit that has now been sealed. Investigators say, a company she owns called 'Governance, Inc.' funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Maddox's pocket.

Barney Bishop, the chair of Citizens for Responsible Spending, says it's time for the Downtown Improvement Authority to suspend her without pay, giving residents a level of transparency.

"It has just mushroomed to the extent that it's time now for, 'Let's step away. Let's clear the air. Let the Downtown Improvement Authority move on and do what's in the best interest of the businesspeople downtown. Let's promote it,'" said Bishop. "But let's get it done, and let's do it in a transparent and accountable way, because I think that's what the citizens of this city should expect and should demand."

We've reached out to Carter-Smith, her attorney, and the chairman of the Downtown Improvement Authority for comment. We're waiting to hear back.

Bishop said he'll share his concerns with the improvement authority at its meeting next week.