'Most corrupt town' vows to clean up its act

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
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'Most corrupt' town in Florida fights to survive

'Most corrupt' town in Florida fights to survive

A Florida town some say is the most corrupt in America was spared its spot on the map Friday when two state lawmakers dropped their bid to strip it of its charter, CNN reports.

Hampton, Fla., had been under the legislative microscope since February, when an audit revealed 31 violations, or roughly one for every 15 of Hampton's 477 residents.

According to the audit, the city's Police Department, responsible for just a 1,200-foot stretch of highway, issued 12,698 speeding tickets in 2011 and 2012, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

It's unclear where all that money went, but the audit found that city employees charged $132,000 on an account at a BP convenience store located next to City Hall.

"The Police Department swelled to 19 officers," CNN said, but "many of the officers weren't trained properly, and the audit found that some of them drove uninsured vehicles. One officer, nicknamed 'Rambo,' dressed in tactical gear and strapped an assault rifle across his chest — just to write tickets."

"It's like something out of a Southern Gothic novel," Sen. Rob Bradley told Time magazine last month. "This town exists apparently just to write speeding tickets. Most people don't understand why it exists in the first place."

Bradley and Rep. Charles Van Zant subsequently threatened to yank Hampton's charter, but abandoned the idea after city officials vowed to clean up its act.

According to an extensive plan presented to the state lawmakers, Hampton agreed to get rid of its police force, replace its scandal-plagued officials in a special September election and account for the thousands of dollars spent by employees.

"You've done yeoman's work," Van Zant said Friday. "I think you've done well."

The speed trap was also scrapped.

News of the 11th hour reprieve was probably bittersweet for Hampton Mayor Barry Layne Moore, who was recently accused of selling oxycodone to an undercover police officer. Moore had been mayor for less than two months at the time of his alleged crime.

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