One town in Florida is reportedly so corrupt — with one police officer for every 25 people and a long record of issuing traffic tickets simply to raise government revenues — that lawmakers are mulling a plan to wipe it off the map.
Even the mayor says his town council members and officials are crooks — though he says that from jail, The Daily Mail reported. He’s currently behind bars, awaiting trial on charges that he allegedly sold oxycodone to an undercover cop, the news outlet said.
The town is Hampton, and it’s home to about 500. But now Florida state legislators have heard enough of the community’s corruption, much of which was revealed in a just-released audit, that they’re pushing to shut it down, The Daily Mail reported.
Among the audit findings: Hampton officials had been found guilty on 31 different counts, including mishandling funds — like $132,000 in purchases on the taxpayer dime that had been made at the BP convenience store that’s located right next to City Hall.
“What’s wrong with that picture? That’s a lot of cigarettes and beer and what-have-you. That’s corrupt as heck,” said Jim Mitzel, who served as mayor from 2000 to 2008, in The Daily Mail.
Moreover, the audit found another $27,000 in workers’ charges on the town’s credit card for “no public purpose,” and that the police cars on the road weren’t even insured.
Meanwhile, police — and Hampton employs about one officer per 25 residents — were able to rack up $616,960 in traffic-related fines on drivers on one particular section of roadway between 2010 and 2012, The Daily Mail reported. Police were famous for sitting in lawn chairs along the side of that road and pointing radar guns at drivers.
“It became ‘serve and collect’ instead of ‘serve and protect,’ ” said one local sheriff, to CNN. “Do y’all remember the old ‘Dukes of Hazzard’? Boss Hogg? They make Boss Hogg look like a Sunday school teacher.”
State lawmakers, including Sen. Rob Bradley, whose district includes Hampton, say the town should just be obliterated from the map.
“This town exists apparently just to write speeding tickets,” Mr. Bradley said, in The Daily Mail. “Most people don’t understand why it exists in the first place.”