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Insider Corruption: What To Look For In Stunning Bribery Trial

By Staff

July 11, 2021

This week, our community begins a reckoning more than a decade in the making. The actions of our City Government will come to a head, laying bare unpleasant truths about our community, the business sector, current and former elected officials, and city executives. The trial of JT Burnette begins.

Among those scheduled to appear are former City Commissioner Scott Maddox, former Downtown Improvement Authority Director Paige Carter Smith, and, finally, a laundry list of who’s who of local government, including more than a dozen current and former elected officials.

Here are the questions we’re paying attention to as the trial begins:

  • How involved was former City Manager Rick Fernandez?
  • How involved was City Manager Reese Goad?
  • For companies engaged in bribery, do the facts show them more as co-conspirators or victims?
  • What previously reported incidents will have more light shed upon them by the trial?
  • How involved was VancoreJones CommunicationsTallahassee Mayor John Dailey‘s Public Relations Firm? Reporting by the Tallahassee Democrat had Burnette on federal wiretap admitting to paying the firm $15,000 a month for their services. 
  • Who is involved that we don’t know about until now?
  • What votes were influenced in order to pass or fail that we don’t yet know about yet? Democrat coverage reported last week that Maddox appeared to break Sunshine laws for the appointment of City Manager Rick Fernandez.
 

Without a doubt, this is the most significant public corruption trial in our city’s history. Our outlet will do the best we can to cover the trial. 

This is a developing story…

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