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Gov. Scott suspends Tallahassee commissioner charged in federal case

Former Tallahassee mayor, associate accused of bribery, extortion, more

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A city commissioner who once chaired the Florida Democratic Party and briefly ran for governor faces dozens of corruption charges.

Federal prosecutors released a 44-count indictment Wednesday charging Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and associate Paige Carter-Smith with bribery, racketeering, bank fraud, extortion and other crimes.

In response to the charges, Gov. Rick Scott suspended Maddox. The suspension begins a 20-day window for the city commission to name a replacement until the next election. If the board cannot agree on a replacement, Scott would make an appointment.

DOCUMENT: Indictment against Tallahassee city commissioner

The FBI's investigation into Tallahassee corruption was an issue in the governor's race. Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis said it was a sign his opponent, then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, couldn't be trusted.           

Gillum, a Democrat, has maintained that he is not a target of the investigation.

The indictment alleges Maddox maintained an interest in a lobbying firm after he was elected in 2012, despite claims he sold the company to Carter-Smith and was no longer involved in it.

The indictment says the firm received payments from clients with business before the commission in exchange for favorable votes by Maddox.

According to a Department of Justice news release, the maximum terms of imprisonment for the offenses are as follows:

  • 30 years: Bank Fraud, False Statements to a Financial Institution
  • 20 years: Racketeering Conspiracy, Extortion and Honest Services Fraud
  • 5 years: Use of Interstate Facilities in Furtherance of Bribery, Making False Statements to a Federal Officer, Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
  • 3 years: False Statement on a Tax Return

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. 

Maddox, who also had opened a campaign account to run for the state Senate in 2020, has denied wrongdoing. 

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.