Andrew Gillum‘s political committee, Forward Florida, ran through nearly $125,000 in legal fees during the month of March. Those payments were made the same month Gillum was found “inebriated” inside a Miami Beach hotel room that was the site of an apparent crystal meth overdose.
Recent reports filed with the Division of Elections show Forward Florida doling out just under $105,000 to the Perkins Coie law firm. The committee also sent more than $19,000 to Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler. Both of the expenditures to those respective law firms were classified as “legal services,” according to those financial reports.
Those sums build on payments to those two firms dating back to last year.
Gillum relied on Forward Florida during his 2018 gubernatorial run. The Democratic candidate was edged out by Republican Ron DeSantis while Forward Florida sat on more than $3 million which remained unspent.
Following the loss, Gillum utilized the committee to help register voters.
Forward Florida also worked to send money to organizations backing Democratic House and Senate candidates in 2020. The House Victory Caucus received $150,000. Senate Victory garnered $75,000 in what was labeled an “initial investment.”
But both of those sums pale in comparison to the $450,000 the campaign shipped out in legal fees in the final two months of 2019. That money went to the same two firms as were listed in Forward Florida’s March report.
Orlando attorney John Morgan, a former Gillum donor, has raised hell regarding the candidate’s handling of that 2018 campaign cash. Morgan even threatened a lawsuit against Gillum last year to recoup those funds.
Forward Florida’s March reports also detail $15,000 sent to MWW Group, a New Jersey-based PR firm. That money was sent for “communications consulting.”
Gillum has temporarily pulled away from the public spotlight following that embarrassing episode in a Miami Beach hotel room.
Gillum was found with another man who was suspected of overdosing on crystal meth. The former Tallahassee Mayor denied doing any illegal drugs, instead stating he had drank too much. Officers who arrived at the scene said Gillum “was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state.”
The incident caused Gillum to enter rehab and pull back from his public facing roles, which included a gig as a CNN contributor.
Overall, Forward Florida burned through more than $180,000. It added a little over $2,000, though not for lack of trying. The committee retains more than $1.8 million in cash on hand going forward.
This story originally appeared at Florida Politics.
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.