Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida, has attributed racist motivations to Republicans who highlighted the revelation that he accepted Broadway tickets from an undercover FBI agent posing as a land developer.
As part of their investigation into potential corruption in Tallahassee government, the Florida Ethics Commission released Tuesday a trove of text-message exchanges between Gillum and Adam Corey, a long-time friend and lobbyist. The messages revealed that, despite his repeated claims to the contrary, Gillum was aware that “Mike Miller,” an undercover FBI agent posing as a land developer, purchased his ticket to a December 2016 Broadway play.
“The Republicans obviously want to distract, want to suggest — all along on the trail they’ve wanted the people of this state to believe somehow I haven’t deserved what I’ve gotten, I’m unethical, participated in illegal and illicit activity. I mean, you name it,” Gillum said in a Facebook Live video released Wednesday. “The goal is obviously to use my candidacy as a way to reinforce, frankly, stereotypes about black men.”
Gillum attended the Broadway production of Hamilton during a trip to New York with his brother, Corey, and two undercover FBI agents he then believed were land developers with business before the city. In addition to the New York trip, the FBI is also investigating an August 2016 trip Gillum took to Costa Rica with his wife, which was arranged by Corey after he won a week-long stay in a luxury villa. Gillum has long maintained that he reimbursed Corey for the cost of the villa, but invoices released along with the text messages on Tuesday indicate Corey’s accountant never billed him for the expense.
Gillum’s Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Representative Ron DeSantis, cited the records as clear evidence of impropriety.
“He’s not telling the truth,” DeSantis said during a campaign stop at a Florida deli. “He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.”