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Florida may snuff crooked burg

Photo courtesy of “Save Our Town of Hampton, Fla.” group on FacebookLawmakers in Florida will decide if a small, rural city that has been plagued by corruption involving the misuse of public funds, nepotism and an alleged drug-dealing former mayor will continue to exist.

Hampton has less than a month to prove it can be trusted to run a better operation, or it will lose its status as a city.

A report by CNN details the problems facing the municipality, population 477.

Most of the problems can be traced to a stretch of U.S. Highway 301, where local police ran a lucrative speed trap for many years.

On Tuesday night, residents packed City Hall and saw every member of the city council resign. The mayor for just a month, Barry Layne Moore, resigned from jail. He’s facing charges of selling oxycodone and has pleaded not guilty.

State officials said Hampton made about a quarter of a million dollars a year from the speed trap.

A state audit of Hampton’s books released last month details 31 instances in which local rules or state or federal laws were violated.

In 2011, 9,515 speeding tickets were issued, valued at over $253,000.

A state audit said a city clerk was grossly overpaid, city cars and credit cards were misused, and city employees ran up a $132,000 bill at a convenience store near City Hall.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editr of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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