LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — More than two years after being initially charged with 64 count indictment, the former Mayor of Lynn Haven and a prominent local developer are now facing only five charges after prosecutors revised their indictment for the fourth time.
James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, and Margo Anderson, the city’s former mayor, are charged together with conspiracy to commit bribery. Finch is now charged separately with two other counts of bribery and giving a false statement to the FBI. Anderson faces a separate bribery charge.
And, at least for now, Anderson no longer faces two charges connected to crimes she had been accused of committing that were not connected to Finch. Finch and Anderson’s attorney’s successfully argued that those crimes should be dealt with in a separate trial. It is unclear if prosecutors will pursue those charges at some later date.
In response to a flurry of defense motions and a looming trial date, prosecutors filed a third indictment in the case. That indictment was unsealed Tuesday.
Count One, conspiracy to commit bribery, alleges that Finch bribed former commissioner Antonious Barnes with several payments that he claimed were loans but that Barnes never paid back. Barnes has pleaded guilty on a separate charge and is expected to testify against Finch. This count also states that Finch gave Anderson’s husband a motorhome and took her and her husband on expensive vacations. In return, Anderson and Barnes directed city projects back to Finch and Anderson allegedly pressured city employees to give projects to Finch.
Count Two charges Finch with bribery for his alleged payments to Barnes. Count three charges Finch with bribery for his alleged gifts to Anderson.
Count Four charges Anderson with accepting bribes from Finch.
Count Five charges Finch with lying to the FBI by allegedly giving investigators a fake bill of sale on the motorhome.
A hearing in the case is set for October 24. A trial is currently scheduled for November 28.
Sentencing for the other defendants in the case is expected after the trial concludes. So far, former City Manager Mike White, former City Attorney Adam Albritton, former Leisure Services Director David Horton, and three individuals who did work for the city have pleaded guilty in the case.