Former Sebastian Councilman Damien Gilliams has been under investigation by local police since he applied and received CARES grant monies through his real estate business, Mid-Florida Rentals.
Gilliams has returned $5,000 in grant monies, which he said were from losses through his Airbnb rentals. However, no Airbnb rentals were allegedly registered under his real estate company in the city, county, or state in 2019.
The Sebastian Police Department has sent subpoenas to Airbnb and HomeAway relating to Gilliams’ company to support his grant application. The application states that he lost income during COVID-19 through the two companies that provide the online marketplace.
If the investigation proves that Gilliams had no income loss from apartments or home rentals through Airbnb or HomeAway, he could be charged with a felony.
Damien Gilliams Mishandled Grant Monies in 2009
Gilliams was charged with grand theft in 2009 after mishandling state grant funds. The monies were intended to pay for work at two Sebastian marinas that he owned. He lost the properties to foreclosure.
He pleaded no contest in the grand theft charge. While he was not adjudicated guilty, a judge ordered him to repay the $59,325 grant monies back to the state. Gilliams also had to serve five years probation.
Gilliams currently owns Mid-Florida Real Estate Inc. and the No Name Sports Bar on U.S. 1 in Sebastian.
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