AP NEWS

Third person indicted in Florida public corruption probe

May 9, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida businessman is facing federal charges as part of a long-running FBI investigation into public corruption in the state’s capital city.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that John “J.T.” Burnette turned himself in Thursday after being indicted on nine charges, including fraud, extortion and making false statements.

He’s accused of funneling bribes to former Tallahassee Commissioner Scott Maddox through a government consulting firm run by Maddox’ former consultant, Paige Carter-Smith. Maddox and Carter-Smith were indicted in December.

Burnette is a developer and hotel and restaurant owner. The indictment alleges he was the point person for developers to give Maddox bribe money to support their projects.

Maddox is a former Tallahassee mayor, former Florida Democrat Party chairman and has unsuccessfully run for attorney general, governor and agriculture commissioner.

Defense lawyer Tim Jansen said Burnette denies all charges against him.