Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee and Florida’s 2018 Democratic Party nominee for governor, has announced he’ll be entering a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism after being found intoxicated in a South Beach hotel room with a gay escort who overdosed on what is believed to be methamphetamine.
Police were called to the Mondrian South Beach last Friday, where they found paramedics treating Travis Dyson, a 30-year-old Miami man, for an apparent heart attack.
Two other men — Aldo Mejias, 56, of Coral Gables, and Gillum, 40 — were inside the room. On the floor and bed were three clear plastic bags of a substance believed to be crystal meth.
Police who responded to the scene claimed Gillum was too intoxicated to answer questions. He was not arrested, and left the hotel and returned to his residence. But Mejias told police that he had called 911 after he became concerned for Dyson’s health.
Mejias said that he had given his credit card information to Dyson to rent the room and planned to meet him Friday evening.
When he arrived at the room around 11 p.m, he found Dyson and Gillum “under the influence of an unknown substance,” reports The Miami Herald.
Mejias said Dyson let him in the room, but collapsed on the bed and began having trouble breathing. He vomited and collapsed again, at which point he called paramedics and began performing chest compressions. He claimed he also saw Gillum throw up in the bathroom during this time.
Dyson was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition.
Miami Beach police said that no arrests have been made, though officers did impound the drugs.
“We responded as a medical call,” Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez told the Herald. “Though there were narcotics in plain view, no one was in physical possession of those narcotics.”
Gillum, who is married and has three children with his wife of nearly 11 years, later issued a statement apologizing for being intoxicated but insisted that he had never used drugs.
“I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends. While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines,” Gillum said in the statement.
“I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement,” he added, referring to his work on behalf of Forward Florida, a political organization he founded after losing the 2018 election to Gov. Ron DeSantis by a narrow 0.4% margin.
Gillum founded the organization in order to register voters and motivate them to cast votes against President Donald Trump and Republicans who run Florida’s legislature in the upcoming 2020 elections and beyond.
Florida’s Miami-area NBC affiliate Local10 reported that Dyson, who identifies himself as a registered nurse on social media, was also an escort who had a profile on RentMen.com — which has since been deleted.
In that profile, he went by the name “Brodie Scott” and identified himself as a “pornstar performer” who offered services including “gay massage.”
The Miami New Times contacted Dyson on Saturday and asked him about the wedding celebration referenced by Gillum.
“I personally was not celebrating a wedding,” he said. “I don’t know if [Gillum] was in town for a wedding. He did not mention that.”
Dyson added that he has known Gillum since they met sometime last spring, saying “We’ve been friends for a while.”
He then went silent on the phone and has not responded to follow-up calls or requests for comment from the Miami New Times or any other media outlets since then.
On Sunday, Gillum announced that he would be entering rehab and asked for privacy for himself and his family.
He announced he would be “stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future,” including as the leader of Forward Florida and as a CNN paid contributor, reports Politico.
“After conversation with my family and deep reflection, I have made the decision to seek help, guidance, and enter a rehabilitation facility at this time,” Gillum said in a statement.
“This has been a wake-up call for me. Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated,” he said. “I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!