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.

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. I would never want my name associated with Scott Maddox 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.

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arendt's picture

As you say, Gillum has national aspirations.

But, beyond that, these kinds of charges fit perfectly with the long-standing rightwing meme that all government except police, military, and courts to protect elite property are illegitimate.

So, here are some massively corrupt Democratic officials in the state capital of a major state. Further,

Like many neoliberal politicians (yes, Hillary, I am looking at you!), Maddox had an arrogance about him like he was untouchable.

I'm sure that the disgust such neoliberal sharks provoke locally can easily be used to tar all Democratic politicians.

Where it gets a tiny bit tricky is that the GOP, while professing nationalism, are heavily on board with neoliberal globalism. For example, they still love their so-called "free trade" treaties, complete with investor-state private courts. Still, only a tiny bit of effort will paint the Dems as merely corrupt small time hacks, leaving the neoliberal cause pretty much untouched.

In closing, thanks for putting this story on the radar.

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SnappleBC's picture

@arendt

And cheated their own party members. They did so in ways both legal and illegal. Then, of course, there is the Clinton Foundation.

Honestly, if I were a Republican meme writer I'd think I'm covered on the "corrupt government" thing for a good decade.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

...Been involved in more than 25 Democratic-related and issues-related campaigns (and I've worked with countless elected officials throughout my life, as well--hundreds, if not thousands of 'em). I've witnessed a lot of sh*t that's gone down. (As is often said behind the scenes, in the media business, "It's not what you get in the newspaper, it's what you keep out of the newspaper!" Of course, the term, "newspaper," is shorthand for "media," in general, nowadays.) From big-city (and not-so-big city) mayors and councilmembers to labor unions, congresspeople, governors, senators and a sitting U.S. President...or two. To call it (U.S. politics), "a dirty business," is akin to saying, "John Wayne Gacy didn't get along too well with other people." Hell, even Abraham Lincoln was pwned by the railroad industry!

With the rise of our corporate kleptocracy, Citizens United, and directly-related, massive increases in income inequality, it's just getting worse by the day.

(Yeah, I've heard stories throughout my career that make what's now "reported" from countries like Russia and China look commonplace here in the good ole' U.S. of A.)

This is all facilitated by our elected officials' "bagmen" and "bagwomen." Behind most (not all, but most) senior politicians (whether they're at your local city hall, state house, Capitol Hill in D.C., or the White House), at least those with any significant tenure, there are their lawyers and other bagmen/bagwomen and fixers. It may be the wink of an eye, the potential employment of a family member, offshore stock transfers, a major tax break, or a myriad of other schemes, which get more creative by the day. When you're looking to get something done in big-city and not so big-city politics in this country, the "solution" usually starts with the words, "Go see...[Insert Name Here]."

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dkmich's picture

Sounds like all of the Detroit mayors until Duggin. Anyone backed by the Democratic Party has to be avoided.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

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