Florida: Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette found guilty on 5 public corruption charges

That’s not good news for Truelieve and CEO Kim Rivers who happens to be married to Burnette.

Kim Rivers


There are no allegations of  any involvement by Rivers or Trulieve but it’s never a good look when one half of a power couple goes down in flames and it did force the company to publish this statement to social media yesterday.

The question will be what happens post sentencing. We see a “amicable” divorce either between the couple or between Rivers and Truelieve that will be quietly be announced in November of December.

As they say… watch this space.

Florida Politics reports

Burnette was found guilty on charges of extortion, honest services mail fraud, a Travel Act violation and lying to the government.

Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette was convicted on public corruption charges Friday stemming from an FBI investigation into City Hall.

Jurors found the 44-year-old, whose businesses include the DoubleTree Hotel, CollegeTown, and the Gateway office building, guilty on five of nine federal charges — extortion, honest services mail fraud, a Travel Act violation, and lying to the government.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 28.

Burnette is the third individual to be convicted in the public corruption investigation, which started in 2015. Former Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his girlfriend and longtime business partner, Paige Carter-Smithpleaded guilty in 2019.

The gist of the allegations was that Carter-Smith helped Maddox, a former chair of the Florida Democratic Party, in an ongoing scheme to solicit bribes from companies seeking to do business in or with the city of Tallahassee.

Burnette was accused of giving Maddox a $100,000 bribe in 2014 in exchange for dismantling a rival downtown hotel project and arranging $40,000 in bribes in late 2016 and early 2017 to Maddox from undercover FBI agents posing as developers and other wealthy businessmen, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

“I am disappointed and angered by how the public trust was violated for personal gain and this should anger every single citizen of Tallahassee,” Mayor John Dailey tweeted. “Our entire community bears deep and lasting scars because of the self-serving acts of a few.”

“I ran for Mayor to do my part to restore that public trust, and I’m proud that within my first year we passed the most comprehensive ethics reform package in our city’s history and the strongest in the state,” he continued. “Now, as we move forward, we must all rededicate ourselves to the hard work of healing our community.”

The investigation also became a significant part of the 2018 gubernatorial election, where then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Governor, faced numerous questions about his interactions with undercover FBI agents. Gillum, who has not been charged, ultimately lost to Republican Ron DeSantis by fewer than 33,000 votes.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jason Coody said in a news release that the verdict “affirms a multi-year investigation of public corruption in the city of Tallahassee.”


Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette found guilty on 5 public corruption charges



We also refer you back to this Grizzly report of last year