Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said in a Friday statement he is “not the focus” of the FBI’s investigation of the city Community Redevelopment Agency‘s business deals.
“Last week the FBI approached me about several people and businesses here in Tallahassee,” said Gillum, also a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018. “I spoke with them, and told them they could expect both the City and my personal cooperation with their investigation.
“They assured me I was not the focus of an investigation, and that they would be moving quickly with their work.”
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in north Florida has issued subpoenas seeking information on redevelopment projects that involve the agency. Gillum was not named in the subpoenas.
As one person involved with the investigation, who asked not to be named, told Florida Politics on Thursday, “This is serious. Very serious. I’m sure that everyone named in those subpoenas has lawyered up. I won’t be surprised if charges are filed in the next few months.”
The agency’s goal “is to create and implement strategies that use a combination of public and private resources to facilitate redevelopment,” its website says. “To meet this goal, the Tallahassee CRA seeks projects that help reduce or eliminate the continuation and/or spread of blight.”
But the city has been criticized, for instance, for ponying up more than $2 million to fund restoration of its former power plant in Cascades Park, now the home of The Edison restaurant, which has several Tallahassee lobbyist investors.
Among the two-dozen people or companies named in the subpoenas is Adam Corey, the lobbyist/developer behind The Edison and a former mayoral campaign treasurer to Gillum.
“I take any allegation of corruption in the City of Tallahassee very seriously, and I am committed to rooting it out in its entirety,” said Gillum, who’s been mayor since 2014. “If corruption has taken place in our city, those parties must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We will not tolerate, enable, or turn a blind eye to corruption.
He added: “While no one likes the City being under the FBI’s scrutiny … we must aid them in their work. They have my full support and cooperation as the Mayor, and the full cooperation of the City of Tallahassee.”