PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A new court filing states, once again, that Lynn Haven city leaders — including former Mayor Margo Anderson and former City Manager Michael White — had work done at their homes, at the taxpayer’s expense, in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
This filing details the investigation Bay County Sheriff’s deputies conducted into the activities of former Bay County Commissioner Keith Baker and Greg Wilson, the former second-in-command at the State Attorney’s Office.
Through interviews with witnesses who worked for the city, investigators determined that the owners of four companies engaged in worker’s compensation fraud while doing work after Hurricane Michael. They also found that Baker formed a company, Tri-State Climate Solutions, but attempted to keep his name out of the public record while he was serving as a Bay County commissioner.
In June of 2020 three people, Wilson, David Russell, the owner of Russell Endeavors, and Dennis Morin, the owner of Morin & Sons LLC. were each charged with Worker’s Compensation Fraud. Baker faces that charge along with bid tampering and official misconduct.
A federal investigation that is connected to this case led to the separate indictments of nine people, five of whom, including White and David Horton, the former head of leisure services for Lynn Haven, have already pleaded guilty.
Anderson, former City Commissioner Antonious Barnes, former City Attorney Adam Albritton, and Phoenix Construction Owner James Finch have all been indicted in the case. Albritton is expected to plead guilty in the case on Friday.
This new filing details what workers told investigators about the clean-up after Hurricane Michael. These men and women were supposed to be helping the city recover after the hurricane but in some cases, they did work on private property politicians and city employees.
The court filing states that individuals working for the city removed furniture and took out drywall and insulation from Albritton’s home, removed furniture and did work at Anderson’s house, did work at two homes owned by White, and spent two months doing yard work and residential repairs at Wilson’s home.
In other cases, employees were listed as working and told to “hide out.”
The records state that one employee explained that she “believed it was a favor for someone important, ‘like a, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,’ situation.
The report also states that Baker tried to keep his name off of official records. For instance, Baker’s name was not found on timesheets like the other businesses.
“This was because Keith Baker was attempting to conceal his involvement … due to his political ties,” the report states. Baker was given away by his text messages, they added.