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Maddox, Carter-Smith Plead Not Guilty To Federal Charges; Maddox Suspended From Office

Ryan Dailey

A federal judge has set a trial date for indicted Tallahassee City Commission member Scott Maddox and former Downtown Improvement Authority director, Paige Carter-Smith. Meanwhile, Maddox has been suspended from office by Gov. Rick Scott.

During their first court appearance, both Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded not guilty to all charges against them. The two are accused of together running a scheme to bribe, extort, and defraud companies and individuals doing business with City government, as well as illegal real estate dealings.

The trial is set to begin January 14, and both are granted pre-trial release. Conditions for their release include no contact with anyone related to Governance, Incorporated – the company Maddox started that’s at the center of the alleged scheme. Though, at the request of Maddox’s attorney, that excludes family members who worked with the company. Maddox and Carter-Smith are also ordered not to leave Northern District of Fla., hand over their passports and are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

As for the FBI’s years-long investigation into corruption in Tallahassee government, a U.S. attorney says it is ongoing.

Credit Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM
Mayor John Dailey, center, addresses suspended City Commission member Scott Maddox's indictment on federal charges December 12, 2018

In the meantime, Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order suspending Maddox from office. Mayor John Dailey says the city is accepting applications for a new commissioner to hold Maddox’s seat.

“We will be appointing someone that will fill out the remainder of this term, which stands for re-election in 2020,” Dailey said.

Since Maddox is being suspended, Dailey says if the trial is resolved before that election and Maddox is exonerated, Maddox could come back to finish his term. Dailey, flanked by his fellow commissioners, expressed sympathy for Maddox.

“Our heart does go out to Commissioner Maddox and his family during this difficult time,” Dailey said. “We truly believe in a judicial process where you are innocent until proven guilty.”

The Commission has until December 26 to select a top three candidates, and the new commissioner will be announced at the Commission’s meeting on the 31st. Applications can be submitted through Saturday, December 22.

Editor's note: This story previously misidentified the agency Paige Carter-Smith worked for

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.