Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum is speaking at an NAACP event Friday night in downtown Tampa. (Spectrum News image)
TAMPA, Fla. — He has served as mayor of Tallahassee and ran for governor of Florida.
There has even been whispers that Andrew Gillum could be eyeing a White House run some day.
But right now, Gillum is facing a different challenge: Ethics violation allegations from his time as mayor. Gillum will speak in Tampa Friday evening during an NAACP event.
Throughout the 2018 campaign, Gillum was dogged by allegations he leveraged his official position to obtain gifts, including a ticket to the Broadway musical Hamilton and a room in a Costa Rican villa, from lobbyists and vendors with business before City Hall.
During a trip to New York — when Gillum went to see Hamilton — an undercover FBI agent posed as a developer pitching a project to be funded with local tax dollars.
Gillum claimed the ‘Hamilton’ ticket was part of an even trade — an assertion that was found to be false shortly before Election Day.
"I understood that to have solved whatever the issue was with regards to the expenses associated with it," Gillum said during an October gubernatorial debate. "But I take responsibility for not having asked more questions."
Gov. Ron DeSantis has weighed in on the controversy surrounding his former opponent.
"I think Andrew Gillum is a talented guy," DeSantis said. "I respect him I don’t want to see anything bad happen to him. You fight these fights politically but you’ve got to move on so I wish him well."
Meanwhile, Gillum has not announced any further definite plans for his political future but he is staying in the spotlight.
He has met with former president Barrack Obama and has joined CNN as a political commentator.
Spectrum Bay News 9 Democratic Political Analyst and former State Rep. Edwin Narin said Gillum’s option are open but the ethics complaint could follow him.
"Those things tend to become political even if its’ a little issue," Narin said. "Opponents and political campaigns could try to make them bigger than they actually are."
Gillum’s attorney insists his client followed rules and they plan to fight the charges. If the commission’s probable cause finding is upheld, Gillum could face a steep fine.