HAMPTON, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — A Florida city dubbed “the most corrupt town in America” could soon be wiped off the map.
CBS News reports that Hampton could lose its status as a city if it doesn’t prove it can be trusted following a speed trap scandal that netted the city $250,000 in just one year.
This also comes as the mayor resigned from office. Barry Layne Moore was arrested in November just weeks after he was elected mayor of the city of 500. He is accused of selling oxycodone.
According to CBS News, the trouble for Hampton started in the 1990s when police set up a 1,200-foot speed trap along an annexed sliver of land along U.S. Highway 301.
The speed limit dropped from 65 to 55 in the 1,200-foot speed trap while officers were spotted sitting on lawn chairs on the side of the highway, some of them reportedly heavily armed.
Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith told CBS News that signs were being altered.
“We had some of the signs that were actually painted over, and the speed limit was painted on the sign, a foot or two off the ground,” Smith recalled.
State auditors found the city had a $132,350 tab at a convenience store, credit card purchases of $10,152, and $8,258 in over-payments to a former city clerk whose family members worked for the Hampton government.
“They had records destroyed,” Republican Florida State Sen. Rob Bradley told CBS News. “They said it was due to an automobile crash in a swamp. You can’t make this stuff up. It was like something out a Southern Gothic novel.”
Every member of Hampton’s City Council resigned this past Tuesday as residents hope to save the city. Hampton has 30 days to prove it can be trusted with its finances or it will face dissolution.
“There’s good people here,” former mayor Jim Mitzel told CBS News. “We have good people. It don’t look like we got good people here because we’re considered the most corrupt town in America. But we’re not.”
Mitzel added that there will be “consequences,” though, for the alleged corruption.
“Somebody is going to have to pay for something. Because that money went somewhere, and it didn’t go to support this town.”
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