Tallahassee mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum distanced himself Saturday from the latest revelation in a growing controversy regarding gift payments.
At a rally Saturday in Sarasota, Gillum said he was not familiar with an undercover FBI agent, posing as a developer, being billed for food and drinks at a 2016 fundraiser for Gillum's political action committee, as shown in documents.
“I’ve done tons of fundraisers. I’ve never had to deal with the food bill. I’m not real sure where that ultimately gets dealt with but I assume every step of the way it was followed appropriately,” he said, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Gillum is facing off against Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in the race for Florida governor. He leads in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average by 4.5 percentage points.
Despite the polling advantage, Gillum in recent days has been dogged by a growing ethics scandal related to a lobbyist who had been closely involved in Gillum's gubernatorial campaign.
According to the documents originally requested by the Florida Commission on Ethics, undercover FBI agent “Mike Miller,” who was investigating Tallahassee for corruption, was charged $4,386 from a restaurant then owned by former lobbyist Adam Corey. This payment, as well as payments for tickets and hotel reservations shown in recently revealed documents, appears to have not been reported as either gifts or campaign contributions.
Corey lawyer Chris Kise began releasing documents last week after it was reported that Gillum had accepted a ticket to see the musical “Hamilton” from Miller during a trip to New York in 2016.
Gillum claims he obtained the ticket from his brother, but text messages between Gillum and Corey suggest Gillum was aware the ticket had been obtained from Miller.
The documents came to light amid an ethics commission examining trips Gillum took in 2016 to New York and Costa Rica, and originally subpoenaed documents pertaining to trips Cory took with Gillum.