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Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor in 2018, was found “inebriated” in a Miami Beach hotel room where drugs were present
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
MIAMI (CFP) — Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost a bid for Florida governor in 2018, has announced he will withdraw from political life and enter a rehab program for alcoholism after after police found him “inebriated” Friday night in a Miami Beach hotel room where paramedics had been called to treat a man for a drug overdose.
Police found what they believe was crystal methamphetamine in the room with Gillum and his companion, Travis Dyson, who was taken for treatment at a local hospital.
Gillum, 40, was not arrested or charged and denied he was using drugs.
He announced Sunday that he would enter an undisclosed treatment facility for “alcohol abuse,” which he attributed to depression in the wake of his defeat in the governor’s race.
“This has been a wake-up call for me,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person”
Gillum said he would be “stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future,” including working as a political analyst for CNN and leading an organization he set up to help his gubernatorial run, Forward Florida Action, which has been working to register 1 million new voters ahead of the 2020 election.
According to the police report of the incident, paramedics and police were called to a hotel in South Beach by a man identified as Aldo Mejias, who told them he arrived at the room to find Dyson and Gillum “under the influence of an unknown substance.”
Dyson was having trouble breathing, and Gillum was vomiting in the bathroom, the report said.
When police arrived, Gillum “was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state,” according to the report. Gillum left the hotel on his own, police said.
Police found three small baggies of what is believed to be crystal meth in the room, according to the report.
Mejias told police he had given Dyson his credit card to rent the hotel room. The report does not describe what connection, if any, he had with Gillum.
In 2018, Gillum, then mayor of Tallahassee, surged to a surprise win in the Democratic primary for Florida governor. He lost to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis by 34,000 votes in November.
Last year 2019, a federal grand jury subpoenaed records from Forward Florida and Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign. The scope of the federal investigation is still unclear, and no charges have been brought.
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Morgan threatens lawsuit over Gillum’s “slush fund;” Gillum retorts that he doesn’t live on Morgan’s “plantation”
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
John Morgan, the Orlando lawyer and political mega donor who stars in TV ads for the law firm that bears his family’s name, has stepped up a nasty Twitter war with Gillum, the party’s defeated candidate for Florida governor in 2018, over Gillum’s decision to transfer leftover campaign money into a non-profit that doesn’t have to disclose how it spends the money.
How nasty? Morgan signed off one Sunday tweet with, “Thank God for Florida that @GovRonDeSantis won.”
Gillum fired right back: “I don’t live on your plantation and I don’t take advice from Trump impersonators & DeSantis suck ups.”
The fussing between Morgan and Gillum started back in April when Morgan learned that Gillum’s campaign, which received more than $2 million in financial backing from members of his firm, failed to spend more than $3 million in contributions for a race he lost by less than 33,000 votes, which Morgan called “stunning.”
The latest dust-up started with a story on the website Tallahassee Reports that Gillum planned to transfer $500,000 from those leftover campaign funds to a non-profit that is exempt from campaign disclosure requirements.
“Does anyone believe anything that comes out of this dude’s mouth?” Morgan wrote. “Of course it must be in an account that the public and his donors never see. And when will he transfer another $500K? When he spends this first $500K.”
Morgan went on to say, “We need to explore a lawsuit to recover the monies given in trust to @AndrewGillum and now in a slush fund” — no idle threat from the man who runs one of the nation’s largest law firms.
Gillum replied by noting that Morgan had originally backed another candidate in the Democratic primary and had pressured him to drop out in order to prevent former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham from winning.
“You only care about transactions and distractions,” Gillum said, concluding with his observation about not living on Morgan’s plantation.
Morgan — who said he gave $250,000 to Gillum in the closing days of the campaign after Gillum made a plea for funds he didn’t use — called the plantation comment “race bating,” which he said “is what people with something to hide do.”
“I say what I think but I don’t think like Trump,” he said. “Most people are afraid to speak truth to power, especially to those they supported. Not me. Plus I’m too damn old to care.”
A spokesman for Gillum told the Tampa Bay Times that the money was transferred to the non-profit Florida Forward Action because the group can “directly spend money on voter registration efforts,” which his campaign committee could not, although it is unclear why a campaign committee would be barred from registering voters. The spokesman said Gillum would not be paid a salary from the transferred funds.
Forward Florida Action has launched campaign “to register and engage” 1 million voters before the 2020 election.
In addition to his Twitter feud with Morgan, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign; it is unclear if or why the campaign might be under investigation or by whom.
Morgan is a longtime Democratic donor on both the state and federal levels who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for statewide office in Florida. However, in 2017, he announced that he was disillusioned with the party and was registering as an independent.
Morgan said that while he would continue to support individual Democratic candidates, he would no longer financially support party organizations, which he said would be “like pissing money down a rat hole.”