Andrew Gillum, Democratic contender for Florida Governor, got a free ticket to a Broadway show from undercover FBI agents, records show.
Gillum, mayor of Florida’s capital city Tallahassee, is on the edges of, but not the focus of, an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in the Tallahassee government, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The FBI is investigating whether the city directed redevelopment funds at specific projects to favor friends and acquaintances.
The investigation, which started in 2015, involved a trio of undercover FBI agents posing as wealthy businessmen eager to do business in Florida.
Details of the investigation are not yet public but a series of subpoenas issued in 2017 did not name Gillum or implicate him in any crime.
However, the Florida Commission on Ethics is, in an unrelated investigation, examining records about two trips Gillum took in 2016.
Among the records this committee subpoenaed and later released to the public is an exchange of text messages that made it clear one of the undercover FBI agents gave Gillum a ticket to the popular Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which Gillum attended while on a trip to New York in August, 2016.
The Mysterious Ticket
Gillum traveled to New York with two of the undercover FBI agents, still posing as businessmen, and lobbyist Adam Corey. On Aug. 10, Corey sent Gillum a text saying, “Hey brother, just checking in with you. Mike Miller and the crew have tickets for us for Hamilton tonight at 8 p.m.”
Mike Miller was the alias of one of the undercover FBI agents.
Gillum replied, “Awesome news about Hamilton.”
Gillum’s campaign later said that the candidate got the ticket from his brother Marcus, who had swapped a JayZ concert ticket for it.
Gillum claimed that he later learned that his brother swapped tickets with lobbyist Adam Corey. When he got the ticket he didn’t know where his brother had gotten it.
Gillum told the same story in a video posted on Facebook, Fox News reported.
“These messages only confirm what we have said all along,” Gillum claimed.
“We did go to see Hamilton. I did get my ticket for Hamilton from my brother.
“At the time we believed that they were reserved by friends of Adam’s, Mike Miller. And when I got there after work, got my ticket, we went in and saw it, assumed my brother paid for it, and so far as I know, that was the deal.”
Andrew Gillum and Adam Corey met and became friends while in college. After college, Gillum went into politics and got elected to the Tallahassee City council at the age of 23, the youngest council member ever. Adam Corey became a lobbyist.
Gillum remained on the City Commission for three terms, and was elected Mayor—essentially, Chairman of the City Commission—in 2014. Tallahassee’s Mayor is elected by the city commissioners and has very limited powers.
Adam Corey volunteered as campaign treasurer for Gillum’s run for mayor.
In 2013, Gillum voted in favor of allocating $2.1 million in redevelopment funds to a restaurant named “The Edison,” which is located in an older, city-owned building. Adam Corey is one of the owners of the restaurant, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Corey apparently acted as a liaison between Gillum and undercover FBI agent “Mike Miller,” according to Fox News.
In preparation for the New York trip, Miller texted Corey, “I have the boat lined up for the trip in August,” on July 12, 2016. “I will get all the rooms booked.”
“Awesome,” Corey answered. “Thanks for arranging everything. Let me know if I can help on anything.”
Gillum maintains that he paid for his own rooms on that trip, though his campaign has apparently only supplied receipts for two nights’ stay, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Gillum has since distanced himself from Corey.
Gillum maintains that the trip was purely for entertainment purposes and he paid his own way. “No public money was used and no city business was discussed on the trip,” he told Slate.com.
An Easy Target
Andrew Gillum’s opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis, has made much of the candidate’s apparent dishonesty about the ticket.
“That’s just wrong,” DeSantis said at a campaign event in Orlando on Oct. 23, the Sun-Sentinel reported. “I think that shows he has something to hide.”
During the Oct. 22 CNN debate between the two governor candidates, DeSantis said of Gillum, “Andrew is a failed mayor. He’s presided over a crime-ridden city. He’s involved in corruption. He’s not the guy to lead our state.”
The 610 Office
For nearly 18 years, the “610 Office” has been responsible for the mass surveillance, arrest, detention, and torture of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China.