News & Politics

'Corrupt to the Bone' Florida City Might Be Dissolved

31 laws were violated by police and officials in this small northern Florida city.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A mayor who sells pills.  A “speed trap” to collect money for the city’s coffers.  And questions about where all the speed ticket money went.

Those are just some of the details contained in a report compiled by Florida state investigators into what’s going on in Hampton, Florida--now perhaps the most corrupt city in a notoriously corrupt state.  The state audit found that 31 local, state or federal laws were violated, according to a CNN report.

Hampton, Florida is a tiny city of 477 located in northern Florida.  But now, as a result of the investigation into the city, state lawmakers are considering whether to abolish it off the map. And criminal investigators from the state police department are looking into Hampton.  

"It's a mess," Dan Krassner, co-founder of Integrity Florida, told CNN. "Clearly, there has been misuse of public funds and lack of oversight. The cronyism and nepotism is out of control."

The city is corrupt, the state audit found, with at least $200,000--and maybe more--in speed ticket revenue unaccounted for.  And the mayor has been suspended from his duties because he was caught selling one 30-milligram pill of oxycodone to an undercover informant. The mayor, Barry Moore, says he’s addicted to oxycodone because of work injuries and that he’s not a drug dealer.

Despite the money that speeding tickets brought the city, officials skirted  an important duty: providing water to residents. Half the water from city pumps vanishes.  Some of that is due to pipes that are leaking, but some customers also get water for free. And if anybody complained at City Hall, their water was shut off.

The inquiry into the city began after State Rep. Charles Van Zant was pulled over by the police while driving through the town.  He has called on the legislature to dissolve the town. But Florida still needs to figure out what to do about protecting the city’s residents and providing water.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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