Vice Mayor Elberg Mike Gelin must not be familiar with Google searches. Last week, REDBROWARD exposed how Gelin’s co-host for a City of Tamarac “sealing and expungement” event is a disgraced former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy accused of forcing illegal immigrants to perform sex acts. Jonathan Bleiweiss, founder and executive director of the Florida Justice Center (FLJC) served a lengthy prison sentence after accepting a plea deal. But Gelin’s co-host issues don’t end with Bleiweiss and his controversial FLJC.
Trulieve, a Quincy, Florida based cannabis company, is the main sponsor of Gelin’s City of Tamarac event. Trulieve has a marijuana dispensary located at 5900 Rock Island Road in Tamarac. On its website Trulieve states, “Tamarac is a unique place. It’s also a special place for medical marijuana to, with numerous dispensaries in the area.”
According to the FLJC website, all costs for the sealing and expungement of criminal records will be paid by Trulieve. In fact, Trulieve has sponsored numerous FLJC events across the State of Florida.
Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, is the wife of Tallahassee developer J.T. Burnette. According to published reports, Burnette began serving a three year prison sentence in January following a trial on extortion charges.
Prosecutors alleged Burnette was involved in a bribery scheme with former Florida Democrat Party chairman and Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and a lobbyist. The investigation, dubbed Operation Capital Currency, revealed how Maddox accepted bribes in exchange for votes on items that came before the Tallahassee City Commission. At trial, Burnette explained, “Scott Maddox is, you know, arguably, probably the most sophisticated politician of all the city and county players period. Okay? So, Scott and I have always worked deals together because at the end of the day, Scott can always wrangle the commission kind of in his direction.”
Maddox and lobbyist Paige Carter-Smith began their prison sentences late last year.
While Trulieve and CEO Kim Rivers were never accused of any crimes, recordings of conversations between JT Burnette and undercover FBI agents contained numerous references to Trulieve and its political connections.
According to The Capitolist, Burnette described his wife as a “real political player” and said she could be very “revengeful.” He said, “(Rivers) will run someone against you. Commissioners don’t want Kim to come against them. She is the perfect weapon when she is aimed against you.”
Burnette said he gave Rivers the money she used for political contributions. He said he “buys the gun and Kim pulls the trigger.”
Burnette claimed said “political consultant Drew Jones of VancoreJones Communication runs the political campaigns of nearly all the commissioners and when Rivers was unhappy with someone Jones would ‘run someone else if Kim wants.’ Burnette said that, at that time, Rivers medical marijuana company, Trulieve, paid VancoreJones $15,000 per month in a retainer fee.”
Burnette “bragged about working with former state Representative Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) to give an advantage to Burnette’s then-girlfriend and Beshears’ brother in their application to obtain one of the five licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana in Florida.”
Burnette described how he worked with then-Halsey Beshears in 2014 to “put ‘little tweaks’ into the criteria for those applying for a medical marijuana license into Florida’s medical marijuana bill at the last minute, making it impossible for certain competitors to qualify for a license.”
Gelin recently encouraged the Tamarac City Commission to enact programs used by the City of Tallahassee Commission. The suggestions had City Hall insiders scratching their heads.
Do residents really want Tallahassee politics in Tamarac?
Why is Elberg Mike Gelin allowing individuals with such “colorful” recent histories to co-host an event at City of Tamarac community center?
Why is FLJC and Trulieve so eager to pay for Tamarac residents legal fees?
Elberg Mike Gelin wants to be Mayor of Tamarac. Residents should look closely at his political allies. Is the FLJC or Trulieve supporting his mayoral campaign?
Tamarac residents deserve answers, no?