Mayor Andrew Gillum vacationed in Central America with lobbyists, close friends and Edison investors Sean Pittman and Adam Corey. Accompanied by their spouses, Gillum and Pittman joined Corey and an entourage of friends and business associates during the first week of May 2016 at an exclusive, $1,400-a-night luxury resort on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.
Ethics watchdogs said the trip smacks of the appearance of impropriety, and that the public will never know whether city business was discussed.
But during that Costa Rican vacation,Corey sent a calendar invite to Gillum scheduling a May 16 meetup at the Edison between himself, Gillum and the now infamous undercover FBI agent Mike Miller, according to emails obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.
The calendar invite was the first reported connection between Gillum, who is now running for governor, and agents working on a wide-ranging public corruption investigation that appears to continue to this day. On Thursday, the FBI dropped a new subpoena on City Hall requesting more records about Corey, the Edison restaurant he developed with taxpayer money, and Cascades Holdings, the LLC formed by Corey and his investment partners to finance the project.
Even without Corey setting up a business meeting during the trip, ethics watchdogs said the trip blurs the lines between friendship and business, especially given the close ties between Gillum, Corey and Pittman and their dealings with the city.
The mayor seems totally oblivious to even the appearance of a conflict of interest," said Pete Butzin, a board member of Common Cause Florida. He's got to understand this thing is going to come back and bite him.
Friends lets stop Andrew Gillum from turning our sunny state in paradise into a socialist peoples republic! Vote Republican for the Right Side candidate endorsed by President Donald J. Trump. Ron DeSantis is the right choice for Florida!
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