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TALLAHASSEE – Scott Maddox, the former mayor of Tallahassee, and his longtime business partner surrendered to an undisclosed federal prison on Tuesday after honest service and tax evasion convictions in August.

Scott Maddox was sentenced to five years in prison and Paige Carter-Smith to two years.

They entered jail the same day as local businessman JT Burnette, 44, who paid them in bribes. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in a local corruption scheme. Burnette was also fined $ 1.25 million.

Burnette entered the federal courthouse facing 70 out of five corruption convictions.

The question “was it worth it?” went unanswered when he entered the courthouse.

Burnette was convicted of bribing former Tallahassee mayor and two-time statewide candidate Scott Maddox and his business partner. None of the convictions were likely without Erwin Jackson. He has spent the past twelve years fighting corruption at the State Capitol.

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“And he decided he’d rather write a check and gain an edge over his competition, and that’s a problem with the business world,” Jackson said before heading to the courthouse to see Burnette’s conviction. .

To draw attention to the corruption, Jackson distributed folds of real money at a city council meeting in September 2017.

“I put up a visual display of what corruption is,” Jackson said at the time.

The FBI has conducted at least two investigations and likely had an impact on the 2018 gubernatorial race when Mayor Andrew Gillum faced off against Ron DeSantis. The GOP used the investigation to criticize Gillum in TV spots across the state that said, “Twenty FBI agents spent two years investigating the city during Andrew Gillum’s tenure.”

DeSantis won by four-tenths of a percent.

Ethics watchdog Ben Wilcox said the capital continues to pay a price.

“No one wants to come to a community known for pay-to-play corruption,” Wilcox said, adding that everyone in the community is paying a “corruption tax” on fewer jobs and more municipal spending. high.

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Jackson’s day job is to rent apartments to students, and annual property taxes run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We asked Jackson why he cared so deeply for so long.

“Every time I see a dollar stolen from the city, I think it’s my personal dollar,” he said.

And while many townspeople hail the sentencing as the conclusion of a sad time, Jackson said it was far from over.

Jackson plans to present evidence of theft by a former city manager at the Tallahassee city commission meeting tomorrow and believes more indictments are on the way.

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