Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday afternoon he had suspended Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who earlier in the day was named in a federal indictment in which he was charged with 44 counts including racketeering, extortion and fraud.
Maddox, and longtime friend and political consultant Paige Carter-Smith who was indicted him, both pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate judge in Tallahassee shortly before he was suspended by Scott.
“Whereas, it is in the best interests of the residents of the City of Tallahassee, and the citizens of the State of Florida, that Scott Maddox be immediately suspended from the public office which he now holds, upon the grounds set forth in this executive order,” Scott said in the order.
The city charter requires the Tallahassee City Commission appoint a successor within 20 working days. If it does not, it would be up to the governor to name a replacement. Maddox’s term expires in 2020.
At their first appearance, Maddox and Carter-Smith were released until their trial date which was set for Jan. 14. Both must ahere to a series of requirements including not being allowed to leave the northern district of Florida without the court’s permission and neither defendant can have contact with any witness or victim involved in the case.
According to federal authorities, Maddox and Carter-Smith allegedly conspired to operate two companies, Governance, Inc., and Governance Services, LLC, as one entity they referred to as “Governance.” The indictment says Governance was part of a racketeering enterprise that was used by the two to extort money and accepted bribes from the company’s clients by using Maddox’s office and the “economic harm that Maddox could inflict in his position as an influential City Commissioner,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.
The indictment alleges that Maddox “cast votes on matters and exerted influence on City employees to take actions that benefited the businesses that paid Maddox and Carter-Smith through Governance.”