The integrity of Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor of Florida, was brought into question by reports that he accepted a ticket from undercover FBI agents to “Hamilton” -  a Broadway show in New York City in 2016, according to documents released today that had been given to the Florida state ethics commission. Gillum is currently mayor of Tallahassee. Among the 100 pages of records given to the commission by former lobbyist Adam Corey were his exchanges of text messages with Gillum. The ethics commission is investigating Mayor Gillum’s 2016 junkets to New York and Costa Rica.

Just two weeks before the election attorney Chris Kise, who is representing Corey, released the records after the state ethics commission issued a subpoena for the records last week. Contrary to statements made by Gillum’s campaign, the text messages demonstrate that Gillum knew the tickets came from "Mike Miller:" an undercover FBI agent posing as a developer looking into corruption in Tallahassee. On August 10, 2016, Corey texted Gillum: "Mike Miller and the crew have tickets for us for Hamilton tonight at 8 p.m."  Gillum responded: "Awesome news about Hamilton," according to the record.

While a September 4 press release from the campaign claimed that the tickets were given by Gillum’s brother, Marcus, the texts appear to refute that claim. That press release came just a few days after Gillum won an upset victory in the Democratic party primary. At that time, the campaign declared, “After the trip, Mayor Gillum learned Marcus Gillum had obtained that ticket in a swap with Adam Corey for a concert ticket."

"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," Gillum said in a statement. "But this isn't about a Broadway show, it's about a sideshow, because Ron DeSantis and his associates have no vision, no healthcare plan, and are running the most false, negative campaign in Florida history. Floridians deserve better."

Former Congressman Ron DeSantis, who is running against Gillum, has frequently linked Gillum to the FBI investigation. During a debate on Sunday, DeSantis asked Gillum, "Did you pay for the Hamilton tickets?" Gillum answered: "First of all, I am a grown man. My wife and I take vacations and we pay for our own vacations … I don't take free trips from anybody. I'm a hard-working 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."

Corey received a federal subpoena on Oct. 15. Gillum met with investigators in September after the ethics complaint was filed against him in June.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that Gillum is currently 4.7 percentage points ahead of DeSantis.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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