PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A man who pleaded guilty in connection to a federal corruption case and is expected to testify at a high-profile federal trial has gone back to work in town — teaching middle school students.
Bay District officials confirmed Monday that Antonius Barnes is teaching at Jinks Middle School.
Barnes is a former Day District school administrator and a former Lynn Haven commissioner. In October of last year, Barnes pleaded guilty to one count of felony fraud on a matter that was not directly tied to the corruption case.
However, court records state that he agreed with federal prosecutors that he had accepted more than $40,000 in bribes from James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction. Several other Lynn Haven officials, including the city’s former city manager and former attorney, had already pleaded guilty in the case.
Finch and former mayor Margo Anderson are fighting the charges.
Bay District officials provided News 13 a statement saying, even though Barnes has pleaded guilty to a felony, he is still eligible to teach students.
“Antonius Barnes has been hired as a social studies teacher at Jinks Middle School,” they wrote. “He was one of three certified applicants for the position, one of the applicants accepted another position at a different school and one of the applicants declined the interview. As a minority, certified candidate, Mr. Barnes met the district’s hiring criteria. His fingerprints have cleared and his teaching certificate is valid therefore he is eligible for hire.”
The trial for Finch and Anderson is now scheduled for February of next year. Barnes and the other defendants are expected to be sentenced once the trial concludes.