FBI Indicts Former Andrew Gillum Mentor
This is not a huge surprise to anyone who lives in Tallahassee, Florida and knows of local politics, but still this is a big story. Yesterday, after over three years of investigation, the FBI indicted City Commissioner, Scott Maddox and Downtown Improvement Authority Executive Director, Paige Carter-Smith in a sixty page indictment charging 44 counts. Maddox and Carter-Smith are long time friends and business associates.
Maddox was also a former mayor of Tallahassee, former state chair of the Florida Democratic party, and a long time politician who has run in a number of other races, both locally and statewide. Maddox was also a friend and mentor to Andrew Gillum in the past. Gillum narrowly lost his bid to be governor of Florida and has been mentioned as a rising star in the Democratic party nationally.
The charges filed against Maddox and Carter-Smith are serious and could lead to significant jail time, if convicted. Both Maddox and Carter-Smith have plead not guilty to all charges. Below is a listing of the charges.
1 count of Racketeering Conspiracy
2 counts of Bank Fraud
4 counts of False Statements to a Financial Institution
7 counts of Extortion
8 counts of Wire Fraud
4 counts of Mail Fraud
9 counts of Bribery
2 counts of Making False Statements
1 count of Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.
6 counts of Filing False Tax Returns
Both Maddox and Carter-Smith have had a long time association with the City of Tallahassee, either through elected position or employment by the city.
As I have posted here before, I knew both Scott Maddox and Andrew Gillum through my own employment with the city. I have long had strong opinions about Scott Maddox and posted them here in the past.
In my earlier post on Gillum, I said I had two caveats about him. First, he has been tightly aligned with the Florida Democratic party which sucks big time and with Scott Maddox who has served both as a city commissioner in Tallahassee and as head of the Florida Democratic party. who is under an FBI investigation. Second, Gillum also has had an ethical complaint lodged against him which has not been totally resolved to my knowledge.
I never understood how voters would vote for Scott Maddox who has had a long history of being on the shady side of politics, but they did. When I read the news of his indictment, I had to laugh. Like many neoliberal politicians (yes, Hillary, I am looking at you!), Maddox had an arrogance about him like he was untouchable. But many of us who had watched his career felt that it was only a matter of time before he would go down. The local newspaper seems to be delighting in covering his downfall.
The opening paragraph in the main story has this little tidbit.
Scott Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith, once power players in Tallahassee’s political scene, shuffled into a federal courtroom on Wednesday, their legs in shackles, to answer charges they shook down city vendors for bribes and pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I know that this essay is mostly about a local issue, but it does have implications nationally since Gillum is already being touted as a potential Vice Presidential candidate in 2020. I also hope that these indictments are the beginning of cleaning house of the vast corruption that has infested national, state, and local offices throughout the United States.