Ryan Rezaian/OurTallahassee

Burnette’s Doubletree Hotel Going into Foreclosure Following Guilty Verdict

Max Herrle

October 13, 2021

Tallahassee’s iconic Doubletree Hotel, which has been owned by JT Burnette since 2015, is going into foreclosure on October 24th, in public foreclosure auction documents posted in Leon County. 

Court records show Burnette has failed to pay loan payments on the Doubletree loan with his company, IB Tallahassee.

“Borrower has failed to comply with the terms of the Loan Documents and defaulted thereunder by virtue of failing to pay the full monthly payments due and owing under the Loan Documents on April 6th, 2020 and in all subsequent months.”

The Hotel was a broad subject of inquiry in the Federal public corruption trial involving former City Commissioner Scott Maddox, lobbyist Paige Carter-Smith, and developer Burnette. 

Burnette beat two charges related to the Doubletree. One for bribery related to his hiring of Maddox’s lobbying firm, which he secretly still controlled, due to beating a racketeering charge, which ultimately meant that the bribery charge for the Doubletree couldn’t be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations on the offense.

Federal agents alleged that Burnette hired Maddox’s firm, Governance Inc. to the tune of $100,000 in exchange for Maddox recusing himself on a critical extension vote for McKibbon Hotel Group. Maddox’s recusal ensured that a competing Hilton hotel couldn’t be opened just two blocks away from the Doubletree. 

Now, seven years later, Burnette’s flagship asset in Tallahassee is going into foreclosure. Reporting by TallahasseeReports.com since the trial has revealed that the Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey’s campaign manager, lobbying firm VancoreJones was retained around the same time period to lobby on behalf of Burnette’s company, and failed to register as a lobbyist properly.

Burnette was convicted on five out of nine charges for his role in the bribery scheme and will be sentenced on November 9th, 2021. The foreclosure sale will occur on October 28th, 2021. 

The foreclosure notice can be viewed here.

One Response

  1. I will never understand how the people who gave JT Burnett taxpayer funds for this hotel are not being prosecuted. The hotel renovation disrupted the entire beautiful Downtown City for far too long. It was not worth the result. That being said the result was a fiasco, unattractive, and not cohesive with the rest of the downtown design.

    I don’t know who allowed the new rooftop Double Tree Bar to be named Eve on Adams. It is not funny, it is not appropriate, but it is vulgar. Which seems to be an underlying theme with many of the players.

    If the Supervisor of Elections Office had held Scott Maddox accountable to the district rule he would not be going to jail. Perhaps neither would J T Burnett. People in Tallahassee really need to step-up their discernment and not kowtow to The Usual Suspects.

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