PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The former mayor of Lynn Haven is now reacting online to the charges brought against her.
Earlier this week News 13 brought you an exclusive interview with local contractor James Finch. Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, was indicted last week in the Lynn Haven corruption investigation. He maintained his innocence and defended Anderson.
Federal prosecutors claim Finch and Anderson were involved in a number of schemes designed to defraud Lynn Haven taxpayers while Anderson was the city’s mayor. Finch blamed several other co-defendants like former City Manager Michael White for the charges.
Not only did Finch defend Anderson, his longtime friend, he even admitting he’s helping with her attorney’s fee.
“I loaned her some money for her lawyer bills. You’re getting it first,” Finch said. “Sure, I loaned her some money, they charged her 64 times. She’s a retired school teacher, she has no money.”
Prosecutors say the amount of the loan is $200,000. Finch’s comments led at least one of our viewers to post a comment on our Facebook page, questioning how Anderson was able to buy a second house in Jacksonville if she indeed has no money.
She and her husband Lee bought a Jacksonville home last June for $475,000.
Anderson saw the viewer’s post and responded on both our Facebook page as well as her own. She wrote that the case has been going on for 23 months so far and, “try retaining a white collar criminal attorney out of your account for that amount of time and see how long your account lasts.”
She also took aim at the federal prosecutors who charged her in the case, writing, “the grand jury system was intended to protect us from less than honorable government prosecutors, not to assume guilt based on hearing only selected evidence.”
When we offered her the opportunity to speak to us Anderson declined by blaming News 13 for her legal troubles.
“You have done more than enough to destroy my life, my good name , my character and my family to the point that I no longer feel at home where many generations of my family have lived,” she wrote.
Anderson said she looks forward to telling her story at trial. She declined repeated requests from us for an on-camera interview.