TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Latest on the ethics case against Andrew Gillum (all times local):
Former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to settle an ethics complaint that he violated civil law by accepting a gift from a lobbyist. The state Ethics Commission agreed to drop four additional counts of violations.
The settlement was announced Wednesday in Tallahassee just as Gillum was to go before an administrative hearing. His attorney Barry Richard said afterward that the one count involved a free boat ride in New York.
The result ends a lengthy ethics investigation that factored heavily in Gillum's unsuccessful campaign for governor last year, when Republican then-candidate Ron DeSantis repeatedly criticized Gillum over the allegations. Gillum denied them at the time.
Gillum said in a statement Wednesday he "never knowingly violated any ethics laws. Once I was made aware of one issue, I took responsibility."
Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum faces an administrative hearing Wednesday over allegations he improperly accepted gifts from lobbyists.
The state Ethics Commission says it found probable cause in January to believe that Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor, accepted gifts in violation of civil law, including travel expenses in Costa Rica and a ticket to the Broadway show "Hamilton."
Administrative Law Judge E. Gary Early is to hear testimony Wednesday in Tallahassee. The judge is not expected to rule this week. If he determines there were violations, the matter would go back to the Ethics Commission for possible sanctions.
Gillum, a Democrat, narrowly lost last year's governor's race to Republican Ron DeSantis, who had pummeled the former mayor about the ethics probe. Gillum denied the allegations during the campaign.