Governor Rick Scott suspended indicted Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox Wednesday afternoon. Maddox and his co-indictee Paige Carter-Smith appeared in federal court in Tallahassee, their ankles shackled, and entered not-guilty pleas. Federal Magistrate Judge Charles Stampelos set a trial date for January 14. Chief Federal Judge Mark Walker will hear the case.
Federal prosecutors revealed the investigation is “ongoing” after attorneys for the accused asked for witnesses interviewed by the FBI. Prosecutors didn’t want to jeopardize the continuing investigation.
With Maddox’s suspension, Tallahassee City Commissioners now have 20 days to name a temporary replacement. Maddox will remain suspended until he is acquitted or removed from office upon conviction.
Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox, a former chair of the Florida Democratic Party, faces nearly 60 years in prison after a federal grand jury indicted him on public corruption charges. Maddox’s former aide and business associate Paige Carter-Smith is also charged in the 44-count indictment.
The indictment alleges Maddox and Carter-Smith used a lobbying firm, once owned by Maddox and then Carter-Smith, to operate a racketeering enterprise that engaged in acts of bank fraud, extortion, honest services fraud, and bribery.
This indictment stems from a much publicized FBI probe into corruption within Tallahassee City government. It dogged then-Mayor Andrew Gillum during his failed campaign for governor. While an undercover FBI agent allegedly provided gifts to Gillum – namely a ticket to a Broadway show and an unreported in-kind campaign donation – the former mayor is not mentioned in this indictment. 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.
In a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the government alleges Maddox and Carter-Smith used Governance, Inc. and Governance Services, LLC 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, who has opened a campaign account to run for the state Senate in 2020, has denied wrongdoing. He and Carter-Smith are scheduled to appear in a federal court room Wednesday afternoon where a judge will schedule a trial date. Neither of the accused has made public comments on the charges.