- The Washington Times
Friday, March 13, 2020

Florida’s former Democratic gubernatorial candidate was involved in an incident at a Miami Beach hotel Friday that law enforcement says may have been drug-fueled.

Police and paramedics were called to the hotel about 1 a.m. Friday on a suspected drug overdose. Among the three people they found was Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee who ran for governor in 2018 and has continued to maintain a political presence in the Sunshine State.

Mr. Gillum, 40, and a second man in the room were in such a state of intoxication that they were unable to talk with officers, according to a police report.

A third man had become ill and collapsed, necessitating the 911 call.

According to the report, police found three small baggies on the bed and floor that were taken as evidence and were being tested for possible crystal methamphetamine, the report said.

Mr. Gillum returned home. A spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department said no criminal charges were being pursued against him.

In a statement released hours after the incident, Mr. Gillum denied it was in any way drug-related.

“I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends,” the statement says. “While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines. I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement.”

The “movement” Mr. Gillum referred to is Forward Florida, a voter registration drive created with $3 million that supporters grumbled Mr. Gillum unwisely kept in his campaign war chest.

Last year, a Florida Commission on Ethics ruling found “probable cause” that Mr. Gillum broke state ethics laws by accepting trips to Costa Rica and New York City, tickets to the Broadway play “Hamilton,” and other gifts that were discovered through an FBI corruption probe into Tallahassee city hall.

Mr. Gillum agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to have four of the five charges dropped by the commission.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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