Andrew Gillum is the Democratic Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida and also a candidate for governor who is running against Republican Ron DeSantis. One issue that has dogged Gillum in the race is an FBI investigation of Tallahassee’s economic development agency. Today, a lobbyist and friend of Gillum’s released emails which prove Gillum accepted a ticket to Hamilton while on a trip to New York City. What Gillum didn’t know was that the person offering the ticket was an undercover FBI agent. From the Miami Herald:
Undercover FBI agents were the ones who gave Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum a ticket to the Broadway show “Hamilton” during a trip to New York City in 2016, according to a trove of records given to the ethics commission and released to the public Tuesday.
Text messages between Gillum and former lobbyist Adam Corey, who arranged outings with undercover agents looking into city government corruption, were among more than 100 pages of records Corey gave the ethics commission, which is investigating trips to Costa Rica and New York that Gillum took in 2016…
The text messages show that, contrary to what Gillum’s campaign has said, Gillum knew the tickets came from “Mike Miller,” who was an FBI agent posing as a developer during an investigation into corruption.
“Mike Miller and the crew have tickets for us for Hamilton tonight at 8 p.m.,” Corey texted Gillum on Aug. 10, 2016.
“Awesome news about Hamilton,” Gillum replied, according to the records.
When the trip to New York became news back in September, Gillum’s campaign released a statement saying that his brother Marcus had obtained the ticket in a swap. The statement made no mention of Mike Miller. During a debate on CNN Sunday, Ron DeSantis pressed Gillum on who paid for the ticket (video below). From Politico:
“The question is, did you pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket, or did the undercover FBI agent pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket?” DeSantis asked at the debate.
“I didn’t take free trips from anybody,” Gillum responded. “I’m a hardworking person. I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do. But I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve gotten in my life, and I don’t need anybody handing me anything for free.”
You may notice if you watch the clip below or read Politico’s summary of the exchange that Gillum never answered the question. Today, Gillum stuck to his story claiming the ticket came from his brother. From CNN:
Gillum’s campaign pushed back against any implication that he had misled the public, saying that his brother, the previously cited source of the ticket, was part of the “crew” cited in the text.
“These records vindicate and add more evidence that at every turn I was paying my own way or was with my family, for all trips, including picking up tickets from my brother, Marcus, who was with a group of his own friends,” the campaign said in a statement.
Gillum’s Republican opponent Ron DeSantis commented on the news while speaking in Miami.
“Andrew’s running on impeaching Trump. OK, I mean, I don’t know what for,” he said. “Trump did not receive a free Hamilton ticket from an undercover FBI agent.”
The Hamilton ticket isn’t the only part of this FBI investigation scandal. Gillum also took a trip to Costa Rica where he and his wife stayed in a villa. Gillum has claimed he paid cash for the trip but Politico reports that documents released today contradict that:
Gillum has said he and his wife paid cash for the May 2016 Costa Rica accommodations, a contention refuted in the newly released emails.
In one of the emails from June 2016, Corey promised his accountant a break-down of an $8,868 credit card charge. Corey’s assistant later responded with a list of people to invoice.
That list shows Gillum and his wife, R. Jai Gillum, were responsible for $941.95, but that line was crossed out. A note next to it said, “HOLD ON BILLING.” Gillum’s email address was not included in a subsequent list of people who were invoiced for taking part in the Costa Rica trip.
That’s a lot of contradictions which don’t seem to add up. It appears Gillum hasn’t been giving voters a straight story about his trips.