Sunday, March 09, 2014

'The dirtiest little town in Florida'

"Why is this even a city?"

That quote comes from Florida State Senator Rob Bradley.

He's talking about Hampton, Florida, a flyspeck of a town that lies half-way between Gainesville and Jacksonville.

In a story posted today, CNN calls Hampton "the dirtiest little town in Florida."
How off-the-charts corrupt do you have to be to capture somebody's attention in the Sunshine State?

You can lay claim to a 1,260-foot stretch of busy highway a mile outside of town and set up one of the nation's most notorious speed traps. You can use the ticket money to build up a mighty police force -- an officer for every 25 people in town -- and, residents say, let drugs run rampant while your cops sit out by the highway on lawn chairs, pointing radar guns at everybody who passes by.

Of course, none of those things are illegal. But when you lose track of the money and the mayor gets caught up in an oxy-dealing sting, that's when the politicians at the state Capitol in Tallahassee take notice.

Now they want this city gone, and the sooner the better.

A state audit of Hampton's books, released last month, reads like a primer on municipal malfeasance. It found 31 instances in which local rules or state or federal laws were violated in ways large and small.

Somewhere along the way, the place became more than just a speed trap. Some say the ticket money corrupted Hampton, making it the dirtiest little town in Florida.


Despite its polite audit-speak and dry title -- "Operational Audit: City of Hampton" -- the 42-page report from the state auditor general makes for riveting reading. Nepotism is rampant. City cars, cell phones and credit cards were misused. The city clerk was overpaid by some $9,000, and employees ran up $27,000 on the city's credit card and charged another $132,000 on an account at the convenience store at the BP station next door to City Hall.


Watch the video above and read the complete story on CNN's website by clicking here.

CNN says that by the time the current Florida Legislative session closes at the end of April, "Hampton could be history."

Too bad the Legislature can't kill two birds with one stone and also do away with Florida's second dirtiest little town.....which happens to be right here in Miami-Dade. Wouldn't that be nice?

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