Hampton City Leaders Dispute State Audit, as Sheriff Considers Criminal Charges
Published February 11th, 2014
HAMPTON, Fla. -- As law enforcement investigates the possibility of filing criminal charges, city leaders in Hampton maintain they did nothing wrong following a scathing report from the State Auditor's Office that raises questions about the city's finances.
State regulators and investigators met in Tallahassee on Monday to discuss the various problems uncovered by a recent audit into the City of Hampton's operations.
The audit found found more than $8000 in overpayments to the former city clerk, hundreds of thousands of dollars in untracked speeding ticket revenue and more than $11,000 in uncollected water revenue, among other things.
Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith says he was shocked to see the report, and says someone needs to go to jail if the state's audit is correct.
"We're supposed to serve people, not be self-serving," said Sheriff Smith. "This looked like an open bank account for people to take what they wanted, when they wanted."
Speaking out for the first time publicly on Monday, John Hodges, the City of Hampton's Police Chief, called the state's report one-sided, and denied the city did anything wrong.
"I don't believe there ever was anything illegal. Maybe there were some bookkeeping practices that weren't up to state standards," said Hodges, who admitted to TV20 that he hadn't even read the full report as of Monday night.
Following the meeting on Monday, the Bradford County Sheriff's Office is assisting the state as it begins to look into filing criminal charges against members of the Hampton city government.
The audit's findings are expected to be discussed further during a City Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Hampton City Hall.
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