***This posting has been updated with a formal statement issued Friday by Mayor Andrew Gillum***
An FBI investigation into redevelopment deals in Florida’s capital city is raising questions about Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who is running for governor next year. But, Gillum says he spoke with FBI officials last week who “assured me I was not the focus of an investigation.”
The mayor issued a formal statement today in response to media reports on the grand jury probe.
The federal government has issued subpoenas to the city of Tallahassee and the local Community Redevelopment Agency requesting five years of documents and communications relating to development projects.
The investigation is focusing on some of the area’s top developers, some major development projects in Tallahassee and the CRA, the agency that helped to subsidize those projects.
The subpoenas do not name Gillum.
The mayor sits on the CRA’s board, which provided subsidies to one of those development projects–the Edison restaurant. The Edison is located in a city-owned building at a popular downtown city park. One of the owners of the restaurant, Adam Corey, had served as Gillum’s campaign treasurer.
“I take any allegation of corruption in the City of Tallahassee very seriously, and I am committed to rooting it out in its entirety,” Gillum said in his written statement. “ 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.
A spokesman for Gillum told the Associated Press on Thursday that they were hopeful the matter would be quickly resolved.
“We expect the city to respond fully and completely to the subpoena and we hope the situation is resolved quickly,” Geoff Burgan, told the AP.
Among the individuals and businesses the subpoenas are seeking records from include others who have ties to Gillum, including campaign donors and a political action committee that was created to support his bid for governor.
Members of the Tallahassee City Commission this week received copies of the subpoenas and a briefing.
“Clearly, anytime a grand jury is requesting information from the city, that concerns me,” City Commissioner Gil Ziffer told the Tallahassee Democrat. “After reading the document, I’m not quite sure what they’re interested in. And until we get more information, I have no comment.”
In addition to the Edison restaurant, those listed in the subpoenas have ties to other redevelopment projects in Tallahassee, including: the Hotel Duval, the Double Tree hotel and the Gateway Center.
Those projects collectively received millions of dollars in subsidies from the CRA.
Below is Gillum’s complete written statement sent out by a city of Tallahassee spokesman:
“Last week the FBI approached me about several people and businesses here in Tallahassee. 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.
“I take any allegation of corruption in the City of Tallahassee very seriously, and I am committed to rooting it out in its entirety. 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.
“While no one likes the City being under the FBI’s scrutiny, in light of what is happening nationally, we must remember that the FBI is here to protect us and 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.”