After an FBI probe into allegations of corruption in Tallahassee city government dogged the gubernatorial campaign of Andrew Gillum, federal prosecutors Wednesday announced the indictment of City Commissioner Scott Maddox and a former aide on dozens of charges.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida did not indicate whether additional people would be charged in the multi-year probe.
But the 44-count indictment of Maddox and Paige Carter-Smith, who served as Maddox's chief of staff while he served a stint as mayor, outlined a series of allegations of wrongdoing stemming from the operation of two companies, Governance, Inc. and Governance Services, LLC.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that Maddox and Carter-Smith are accused of using the companies, which they operated as one entity, as "part of a racketeering enterprise that extorted money and accepted bribes from Governance clients under color of Maddox's office and through fear of the economic harm that Maddox could inflict in his position as an influential city commissioner.
The indictment alleges that Maddox voted on matters and exerted influence on city employees to take actions that benefitted the businesses that paid Maddox and Carter-Smith through Governance."
Maddox and Carter-Smith also are accused, in part, of lying to federal agents, defrauding a bank and violating tax laws. Maddox, a former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party who also had opened a campaign account to run for the state Senate in 2020, has denied wrongdoing.
The investigation of potential corruption in Tallahassee drew statewide attention this fall as Gillum, who was then the Tallahassee mayor, ran for governor. Gillum, a Democrat, has maintained that he is not a target of the investigation, but Republican Ron DeSantis repeatedly hammered him on the issue. DeSantis won the Nov. 6 election and will take office in January.