U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Wednesday sentenced former Mayor and Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox to five years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to public corruption. Maddox was also the head of the Florida Democratic Party in 2003.

Maddox’s business associate, Paige Carter-Smith, was sentenced to two years for her role in the corruption scheme.

Judge Hinkle said Maddox and Carter-Smith were entitled to sentences below federal guidelines due to assistance offered to federal officials. Federal sentencing guidelines called for 5-7 years for Maddox and Carter-Smith.

Before the sentence was handed down, Maddox took the stand and apologized for his actions and took responsibility for harming the city he loved.

Maddox and Carter-Smith will report to their designated facilities on November 9th.

In August, 2019, Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to two honest services fraud counts and one tax fraud conspiracy count arising from a 47-count indictment. Maddox and Carter-Smith faced up to 45 years in federal prison followed by supervised release, as well as $750,000 in fines.

In addition, Maddox and Carter-Smith agreed to forfeit all interest in any property which was derived from proceeds of the crimes to which the defendants pled guilty and to a forfeiture money judgment in an amount to be determined by the court.

The guilty pleas were the result of an FBI undercover investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee which began in 2015.

Last month, in a case related to the investigation, a federal jury in convicted J. T. Burnette – a local businessman and Maddox friend – of one count of extortion, two counts of honest services fraud by bribery, one count of use of interstate commerce facilities to promote bribery, and one count of making false statements to a federal officer.

The guilty verdict was returned on August 13, at the conclusion of a fifteen-day trial.

Maddox Political Career

In 1990, at the age of 22, Maddox ran for the Florida House of Representative’s 10th District but lost in the Democratic primary. In 1993, while still in law school, Maddox became the youngest city commissioner in the city of Tallahassee’s history, being elected at the age of 24.

Maddox was the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, from 1995 to 1996 and served as Tallahassee’s first elected mayor from 1997 to 2005.

In May 2005, Maddox stepped down as chairman of Florida’s Democratic Party to launch a campaign for governor. However, several issues derailed his efforts.

The IRS hit the Florida Democratic Party with a $200,000 lien for unpaid social security and federal income taxes.  The violations took place in 2003 during Maddox’s tenure.

And a feud with the Florida PBA erupted when union officials accused Maddox of using the Leon Democratic Executive Committee to funnel money to consultants to advise Maddox before he formally announced his run for Governor.

Maddox dropped out of the race in October 2005.

In 2009, Maddox decided to run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in the 2010 midterms. However, he lost badly to Adam Putnam.

Maddox resurrected his political career with a successful run for the Tallahassee City Commission in 2012 and won re-election in 2016.

Maddox was removed from office after he was indicted in December 2018.

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Steve Stewart is the Managing Editor and a contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]