Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is responding to charges reported in Politico that Gillum “failed to disclose two mortgages on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to 2014.”
“Like many Floridians, my wife R. Jai and I owe a mortgage on our home — and as I’ve been saying for months, my life experience is much more like everyday Floridians than any of my opponents,” Gillum responded in a written statement made Thursday morning via Medium.
“Which makes the recent story that I need to file some changes to my financial disclosure forms all the more telling,” Gillum added. “I accidentally put the wrong mortgage down on my forms in the yearly rush to get them filed — and that’s exactly why a process exists for elected officials to amend their forms.”
According to Politico, the amount of mortgage Gillum failed to report was over $400,000.
Overall, Gillum failed to disclose two mortgages totaling $423,665, including one for his family‘s home i n Tallahassee. State ethics laws require state officials to report any debts worth more than $10,000.
A spokeswoman for the Florida Commission on Ethics told Politico that a formal complaint would have be filed in order for the commission to look into the matter.
The amount of the largest mortgage he failed to disclose was $403,655. He obtained it in 2014 for the family’s Tallahassee home. That mortgage was approved by Hancock Bank, which financed 95 percent of the $424,900 purchase price. Gillum bought the house in September 2014, a month after he became mayor.
Gillum reportedly also failed to include a $20,000 “advanced mortgage” he took out in November 2014 on a separate piece of property he previously owned.
“In 2018, it says a lot that I’m spending time talking about my mortgage, and that we’re not talking about big issues facing our state like our health crisis, our underpaid public school teachers and staff, and our gun violence epidemic,” Gillum said in his statement. “My wife and I are lucky to be on our second home as a family — because that’s not at all how I grew up.”
Reports that Gillum failed to report the mortgages come as the FBI continues its public corruption probe into the use of tax dollars for local development projects. Gillum has said that law enforcement has told him he is not a target of the probe, but names of associates close to Gillum have come up in the investigation and subpoenas.
A report published Friday in the Tallahassee Democrat, said Gillum went on a luxury vacation to Costa Rica with friends, lobbyists and investors in May of 2016 at a $1,400 a night resort that the mayor’s office said Gillum paid cash for to cover his share of the trip.
During the trip, Gillum reportedly received an electronic invite from a long-time associate and investor to attend a meeting later in Tallahassee with supposed “developer” Mike Miller. The Democrat reports that Miller was actually an undercover FBI agent.
The invitation came from Adam Corey, who was also on the trip with Gillum and is an investor in The Edison restaurant, that sits in a downtown Tallahassee park and which received $2.1 million in taxpayer money from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. Corey and Gillum have reportedly been friends since college.
News of the trip came a day after it was learned that the FBI had obtained a new subpoena in the case focusing primarily on Corey. The FBI is reportedly seeking documents about the Edison deal.