Newly released records from lobbyist Adam Corey show Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum obtained a ticket to the Broadway show ‘Hamilton’ from an undercover FBI agent, not his brother as Gillum claimed last month. The revelation was part of 150 pages of records subpoenaed by the Florida Ethics Commission as part of its investigation of Gillum’s 2016 trips to New York City and Costa Rica. The release of the records was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
Cell phone messages show Corey texted Gillum on August 10, 2016 saying “Mike Miller (an undercover FBI agent) and the crew have tickets for us for Hamilton tonight at 8 pm.”
Forty-five minutes later Gillum replied, “Awesome news about Hamilton.”
It was Gillum, Corey and the undercover agent who were also photographed in New York City taking a boat tour of the Statue of Liberty. Copies of those pictures were also provided in the records Corey handed over to the state.
Call it an October surprise, or a political game changer, either way it doesn’t bode well for Gillum, who said during Sunday night’s CNN debate, “I don’t need anybody handing me anything for free.”
During that same debate Republican Ron DeSantis pressed Gillum on the Broadway ticket asking, “The question is, did you pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket, or did the undercover FBI agent pay for the ‘Hamilton’ ticket?” Gillum refused to answer that question, despite asserting in September that he obtained the ticket from his brother. When asked about the Broadway show in 2017 by the Tallahassee Democrat Gillum said, “I have no knowledge of any of that.”
In a statement, Gillum called the records release a “sideshow” and boldly claimed they clear him of wrongdoing. “These records vindicate and add more evidence that at every turn I was paying my own way or was with my family, for all trips…”
That statement contradicts the documents Corey provided to investigators regarding payment of a trip Gillum and his wife took with Corey, lobbyist Sean Pittman and his wife plus others to Costa Rica. Corey and staff at his then lobbying firm arranged for the group to stay at a “mansion” in May 2016.
One picture, provided in the released records, shows the large group, including Gillum, eating what appears to be breakfast during the trip.
When it came time to pay the bill for the Costa Rican trip, Corey’s accountant sent invoices to every individual on the trip, but was instructed by Corey not to invoice Mayor Gillum.
Gillum claimed to pay $400 as his portion of the trip. Besides not covering the total cost of his portion of the trip, Corey’s attorney denied payment was ever received.
Corey is the public face of an on-going FBI investigation into potential corruption within Tallahassee City government, which Gillum leads. Mayor Gillum has long claimed he’s not the subject of the FBI’s probe, an assertion never confirmed by federal investigators.
Gillum says allegations that he’s under FBI investigation are politically motivated. But the newly released records show Gillum and Corey had a close personal and professional relationship. Corey received a $2 million grant from the city to redevelop a city-owned building into the Edison Restaurant, showing he may have financially benefited from his relationship with Gillum.
With just 14 days before the November general election and Gillum leading in the polls, the new revelations are certain to raise additional concerns about the Mayor’s honesty in handling these allegations. It also gives his Republican opponent ammunition in questioning Gillum’s integrity. “It’s now abundantly clear that Andrew Gillum has repeatedly lied about taking free gifts and trips from lobbyists,” said Stephen Lawson, spokesperson for the DeSantis campaign. “If he’ll lie about these gifts and trips from lobbyists on national television, what else is he lying about?”
Except Republicans to continue pounding that theme and it will certainly come to a head as Gillum and DeSantis appear on the same stage Wednesday night in their second debate.