HAMPTON, Fla. -- The jailed mayor of Hampton, Florida, resigned Tuesday as the embattled city of 477 residents fought to keep its municipal government functioning in the wake of a state audit that exposed rampant corruption and mismanagement.
Barry Layne Moore had held office for just over a month when he was arrested in November in a sting operation in which he allegedly sold a single 30-milligram oxycodone pill to an undercover informant for $20. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Gov. Rick Scott suspended Moore shortly after the arrest. But state lawmakers, including Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Charles Van Zant, are pushing to dissolve Hampton, saying the city, notorious for its speed trap along U.S. Highway 301, is too corrupt to govern itself.
The audit, released last month, found 31 violations of Hampton's city charter, as well as violations of state and federal codes and laws. The allegations included nepotism, sloppy bookkeeping, and failure to maintain records, withhold payroll taxes or insure city vehicles. The audit also found $9,000 in questionable payments to the city clerk, $27,000 in questionable charges on a city credit card and $132,000 charged to an account at a BP gas station and convenience store across the street from City Hall.
The city has been given 30 days to show it can put its house in order. If the lawmakers are not satisfied that progress has been made, they will proceed in the state legislature with a bill to dissolve Hampton's city charter. Among the conditions the city must meet: All current office-holders and employees must resign.
The police chief, city clerk, and water manager already have quit, as has one of the five city council members, who are paid $125 a month. Others are likely to follow. The City Council meets Tuesday night.
Moore's letter was short and to the point, stating, "I, Barry Layne Moore, being of sound mind and body, ask that you would please accept this letter as notification that I am leaving my position with the city of Hampton, effective immediately."