The "Most Corrupt City in Florida" Might Just Be Wiped Off the Maps
Earning the title of Florida's most corrupt city is no easy job. Dade County's mayoral elite have certainly done their best to make a bid for the plaudits this past year, from Sweetwater's bribe-taking chief to Homestead's allegedly campaign-finance breaking mayor.
Tiny Hampton, Florida, blows them both out of the water. Combine the state's most notorious speed trap, a city government mysteriously blowing through hundreds of thousands of dollars, and an allegedly Oxy-dealing mayor, and you've got a town so very dirty that the state legislature looks likely to dissolve the whole city. CNN visited Hampton this weekend and found the village unlikely to survive the pending vote in Tally.
Hampton grabbed headlines in November when the 500-person town's mayor, Layne Moore, was arrested for selling Oxycodone to an undercover cop, with the county's sheriff memorably quipping, "This isn't Toronto."
But it's a 42-page state audit of Hampton's books released last month that really has Tallahassee fuming. The audit found 31 cases where the town had broken local state or federal laws and recounts a stunning lack of accountability in a village that brought in huge sums of cash with an aggressive speed trap.
Petty cash was tossed into a bag and cops were allowed to dip in at will, the audit found, while city employees racked up a six-figure debt at the gas station next to city hall. Piles of records disappeared with some allegedly lost in a flood and others "in the swamp." City services were spotty and town rules of government almost non-existent.
It was enough to horrify state legislators, who passed a motion to abolish the town last month; they've since granted a four week extension for Hampton to make its case, but it's not looking good for the troubled municipality.
The latest ominous sign came on Friday, when state and local cops raided city hall and walked out with boxes full of records.
Sheriff's deputies raid Hampton City Hall on Friday.
via Bradford County Sheriff's Office
A few folks in Hampton defend the town to CNN, including the city's clerk who "acknowledged ... she isn't the most organized person," the network writes, but claims she never did anything wrong.
The legislature is expected to decide whether to dissolve Hampton's charter next month.
Here's the full audit:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.