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Florida commission finds probable cause that Democrat Andrew Gillum committed ethical violations


Allegedly accepted and didn't report gifts valued at over $100

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

An ethics complaint against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2018, is moving forward. The Florida Ethics Commission on Friday found probable cause that Gillum allegedly accepted gifts during on out-of-town trips with lobbyists and vendors and failed to report them, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

What are the allegations?

Gillum is accused of soliciting and accepting gifts, according to his attorney Barry Richard. The gifts related to "including rental accommodations in Costa Rica, a boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty and tickets to see the Broadway musical 'Hamilton' in 2016," CNN reported. Gillum traveled to Costa Rica in May 2016 and New York City in August 2016.

Florida law bans state officials from accepting gifts worth more than $100.

Gillum's attorney maintains there is conflicting testimony regarding what happened. He also said the allegations hang "on a very thin thread."

In October 2017, Tallahassee businessman Erwin Jackson named Gillum in his effort to "expose corrupt state politicians."

"I am relieved that with the help of the FBI these politicians will be held accountable for their self-serving and criminal actions," he wrote in an email to CNN.

Gillum was also subject to an FBI investigation during his campaign for governor. Republican Ron DeSantis won that race in November.

The FBI investigation was concerned with whether out-of-town developers influenced city planning projects. According to Gillum, the FBI has informed him that he is not considered the focus of the investigation.

Gillum did not attend Friday's hearing, but "will definitely be attending the evidentiary hearing and he will be testifying at it," Richard reportedly said.

What's next?

An initial announcement about the hearing's findings is expected Wednesday. Then, Richard plans to request a public evidentiary hearing. Gillum is not considering a settlement, his attorney said.

"He will not settle," Richard told CNN. "He actually welcomes the public hearing."

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