Friday, August 21, 2020

Lynn Haven mayor and attorney resign after being federally indicted on 63 charges (Panama City News Herald, AP, Insurance News, USDOJ, Nexstar Broadcasting)

Swathed in a cesspool of one-party Republican misrule corruption, a Northwest Florida town saw its Mayor and City Attorney arrested Wednesday.

The long arm of the FBI and Justice Department Criminal Division Public Trust Section reached out and arrested Lynn Haven, Florida Mayor MARGO DEAL ANDERSON and City Attorney JOSEPH ADAM ALBRITTON were arrested and charged with some 64 criminal counts involving theft and bribery involving some $5 million Hurricance Michael debris removal contracts.   Yes, the Mayor's middle name was "DEAL," and the Grand Jury indictment alleges that she and the City Attorney made Lynn Haven City Hall a den. of thieves.    

"This case is an example of what happens when public servants becomes complicit in corrupt behavior rather than standing up to it," said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. "Anyone who puts personal greed above their responsibility to protect the public should be held accountable, and that is why rooting out corrupt public officials remains the FBI's number one criminal investigative priority."

From Panama City News Herald, AP, Insurance News, USDOJ, and Nexstar Broadcasting:

Lynn Haven mayor and attorney resign after being federally indicted on 63 charges

Jacqueline Bostick
The News Herald

LYNN HAVEN — Lynn Haven's mayor and attorney resigned on Thursday, a day after they were indicted on 63 federal crimes.

The now former mayor Margo Anderson and city attorney Adam Albritton submitted their letters of resignation on Thursday, effective immediately. While Albritton simply notified the city of his resignation, Anderson asserted her innocence.

More:Gov. DeSantis suspends Lynn Haven mayor from office after federal indictments

More:Lynn Haven expands authority of mayor pro-tem after mayor indicted on federal charges

More:Lynn Haven mayor and city attorney each charged with more than 60 federal crimes

More:GALLERY: Trucks, trailers and cement mixers seized in relation to indictments in Lynn Have

"I am innocent of the charges made against me; I want the City to be able to move forward in its recovery from Hurricane Michael and to be able to rebuild without continued negative media coverage," she wrote. "My family does not deserve the continued attacks on us because I chose to serve as Mayor of the City."

Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson

"I look forward to the day when my name is cleared, and I wish only good things for the City of Lynn Haven," Anderson concluded.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday had already suspended Anderson from public office through an executive order.

And at a special meeting Wednesday, the commission voted to give the mayor pro-tem Dan Russell signing power and mayoral authority in Anderson's absence and hire local attorney Jeff Carter, P.A. at Merlin Law Group to provide legal counsel to the city over the course of the next two weeks until other arrangements are made.

Anderson, who has proclaimed her innocence of any wrongdoing even as a scandal involving the theft of $5 million in Hurricane Michael debris removal funds engulfed the city, faces 63 criminal counts after her arrest on Wednesday. Those include a count of conspiring to defraud, numerous counts of wire fraud and a charge of embezzlement of federal funds.

Anderson is also charged with depriving the city of Lynn Haven and its residents of their right to honest services, and lying to federal agents.

Albritton faces charges identical to those for which Anderson was indicted, except that rather than being charged with lying, he stands charged with scheming to defraud an insurance company by claiming he'd paid for work he'd done that was billed to the city of Lynn Haven. 

Anderson and Albritton become the sixth and seventh persons indicted as part of an FBI investigation that was first made public in April of 2019. They are the third and fourth city officials who have now faced charges, along with former City Manager Michael White and former Community Services Director David Horton. 

 Florida mayor suspended after hurricane fraud charges 
August 20, 2020 Associated Press 
The mayor of a Florida Panhandle city was suspended from office Thursday after being charged earlier this week in the theft of $5 million in Hurricane Michael debris removal funds. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order removing Margo Anderson from her position as mayor of Lynn Haven. Anderson and City Attorney Adam Albritton are the subjects of a 64-count indictment returned Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Panama City. The governor doesn’t have the authority to remove the city attorney, who isn’t elected by voters. 

After Hurricane Michael Hit the Florida Panhandle in October 2018, prosecutors said Albritton and Anderson indefinitely extended a debris removal contract with a private company for the city. Both then had work done by the company at their homes, as well as the homes of friends and relatives, and charged it to the city, according to the indictment. 

Prosecutors said Anderson and Albritton also received kickbacks from projects that they approved. Among other charges, the two have been accused of theft concerning federal programs and conspiring to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud. Five others previously pleaded guilty in the case and are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 29 in Tallahassee. Court records didn’t list attorneys for Anderson or Albritton who could comment.

From Insurance News:

Lynn Haven Mayor and City Attorney Indicted For Corruption And Fraud Charges Stemming From Hurricane Michael Clean-up Activities

Justice Department Documents & Publications

U.S. Attorney's Office

Northern District of Florida


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Lynn Haven Mayor and City Attorney Indicted For Corruption And Fraud Charges Stemming From Hurricane Michael Clean-up Activities


PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA -- Lynn Haven City's Mayor and Attorney are the subjects of a 64-count indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury in Panama City, FloridaLynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson, 65, of Jacksonville, Florida, and Lynn Haven City Attorney Joseph Adam Albritton, 33, of Lynn Haven, Florida, have been indicted for conspiring to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud, substantive counts of wire fraud, honest services fraud, and theft concerning federal programs. Anderson is also charged with making false statements to FBI agents. Albritton is charged with submitting a false invoice to an insurance company for hurricane debris removal from his residence.

United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe of the Northern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation'sJacksonville Division, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford made the announcement at a press conference held today.

"This indictment serves as a powerful message to all public officials and any other citizen who serves in a position of trust," said U.S. Attorney Keefe. "Our Public Trust Unit, working alongside our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, are committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who illegally abuses a position of trust for personal gain. The integrity of those who run our government is essential to our democracy."

Anderson was arrested by FBI agents this morning at her Jacksonville, Florida, residence. Her initial appearance is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ESTtoday at the United States Courthouse in Jacksonville. Albritton was arrested by deputies of the Bay County Sherriff's Office this morning in Lynn Haven, Florida. His initial appearance is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. EST today at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.

"This case is an example of what happens when public servants becomes complicit in corrupt behavior rather than standing up to it," said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. "Anyone who puts personal greed above their responsibility to protect the public should be held accountable, and that is why rooting out corrupt public officials remains the FBI's number one criminal investigative priority."

Following Hurricane Michael, on October 16, 2018, the City of Lynn Havenadopted a local state of emergency for post-disaster relief and planning. The City also approved a resolution waiving the procedures that are normally required under Florida law so that timely action could be taken to ensure the safety, welfare, and health of the citizens of Lynn Haven. The resolution delegated emergency powers to Mayor Anderson or her designee, meaning they could independently enter into contracts and spend public funds. Although the emergency declaration was ended by Lynn Haven two weeks later, the city entered into an emergency agreement with David White, owner of Erosion Control Specialists (ECS) to perform hurricane clean-up services.

The indictment returned yesterday alleges ECS was paid for services that were not authorized under the emergency contract. According to the indictment, unauthorized work valued at over $48,000 was performed at the private residences of Anderson, her mother, and a neighbor, and an additional $25,000 worth of unauthorized work was performed at the private residences of Albritton and his girlfriend. The indictment alleges that ECS invoices falsely claimed this work was provided to Lynn Haven public areas. After the unauthorized work was performed, Albritton went on to file a fraudulent claim with St. John's Insurance Company that his residence had been damaged by Hurricane Michael, according to the indictment. Albritton is charged with providing the insurance company with a false invoice from ECS indicating he had paid for tree removal, debris removal, and installation of a tarp to his residence totaling $9,600.

Anderson and Albritton are also charged with devising a scheme to defraud Lynn Haven and its citizens of their right to honest services of Anderson, as Mayor, and Albritton, as City Attorney. The indictment alleges that both Anderson and Albritton solicited and received bribes or kickbacks from City projects that they approved.

After the initial emergency declaration by Lynn Haven expired, the indictment alleges Albritton conspired with then-City Manager Michael White to award a trash pick-up project to ECS. Although Lynn Haven waste trucks had the ability to perform the same work at no additional cost to the city, ECS was paid $300 per hour, per crew for this task. The indictment charges Albritton with demanding, and receiving, $10,000 in cash for each weeks of trash services billed to Lynn Haven by ECS from mid-October 2018 through January 2019. The city of Lynn Haven was ultimately billed $1.8 million for unnecessary trash pick-up according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that Anderson halted progress on plans to permit a city-owned site for disposal of vegetative debris, even though using the city-owned site would have saved Lynn Haven millions of dollars in disposal fees. Instead, the indictment alleges Anderson told the City Manager to use a privately owned company (Company B) for vegetative debris disposal. According to the indictment, the city of Lynn Haven paid disposal fees in excess of $2 million to Company B. Additionally, the indictment charges that between 2015 and the present date, Anderson helped Company B win multiple other multi-million dollar contracts with the city of Lynn Haven. In return, the indictment charges Anderson with accepting things of value from the owner of Company B, including travel in a private airplane, lodging aboard a private yacht, meals and entertainment. According to the indictment, Anderson and her husband also received a $106,000 motorhome from Company B in February 2018.

During the time periods when the alleged crimes were being committed, neither Anderson nor Albritton filed required quarterly gift reports documenting that they received gifts in excess of $100 according to the indictment.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bay County Sheriff's Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen M. Kunz.

"I am proud of the efforts of the senior criminal investigators and analysts from the Bay County Sheriff's Office, and at the expertise of the team assembled by U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe and Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas," said Tommy FordBay County Sheriff. "Through this partnership we will work to root out corruption and hold those responsible for taking advantage of us during our most vulnerable time. This investigation remains very active and ongoing."

If convicted, both Anderson and Albritton face prison terms of up to 20 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud, substantive wire fraud and honest services fraud, and mail fraud, and 10 years for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Anderson could be sentenced to an additional 5 year term if convicted for making false statements to federal agents and Albritton faces a maximum of 20 years for submitting a false invoice to an insurance company.

This indictment is a follow-up to the indictment returned in November 2019 of five defendants, including former Lynn Haven City Manager Michael White, former Lynn Haven Community Services Director David Horton, and Erosion Control Specialists owner David White, for conspiring to commit wire fraud, substantive counts of wire fraud and honest services fraud, relating to post-Hurricane Michael clean-up activities in Lynn Haven. All five of the defendants indicted in November have pled guilty to charges from the first indictment, and are awaiting sentencing.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida( website. For more information about the United States Attorney's Office, Northern District of Florida, visit

Press Release - Anderson and Albritton (" type="application/pdf; length=54520)Anderson Albritton Indictment (" type="application/pdf; length=4363088)


U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Florida (850) 216-3829

Updated August 19, 2020

From Nexstar Broadcasting:

You can read the federal indictment here.

show_temp.pdf on Scribd

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