LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB)–Locals are still measuring the fall-out from this week’s indictments for corruption and fraud involving FEMA disaster money.
A number of Lynn Haven city officials who were named but not charged, are defending themselves against those questioning their integrity.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe announced that some Lynn Haven City officials participated in a scheme to defraud taxpayers out of $5 million earmarked for Hurricane Michael clean-up projects.
The indictment states a company called Erosion Control Specialists performed work at the homes of individuals, then billed the city for it.
Prosecutors say the work happened at the homes of Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson, her mother’s home, and at gated community where city commissioner Dan Russell lives, among others.
On Wednesday, Anderson said workers cleaned-up an easement behind her property, not her home.
Russell also told local media that workers only cleaned-up a city owned easement in his neighborhood.
We checked these claims with Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell’s office.
Sowell confirms Lynn Haven maintains easements behind Anderson’s house, and in Russell’s neighborhood.
In fact, there are easements all over Lynn Haven that had fallen trees on them after the storm.
But not all residents got their easements cleaned up by the city like Mayor Anderson and Commissioner Russell’s community.
Several Lynn Haven residents contacted us to say they asked the city for help cleaning the easements on or near their properties. But the city told them they’d have to do the work themselves or pay someone else to remove debris.
News 13 contacted the City of Lynn Haven and requested documents, rules, and policies governing easements.
Lynn Haven City Manager, Vickie Gainer, responded via email.
The photo below shows the questions posed by News 13. The answers provided by the City of Lynn Haven are written in red.
Five people were indicted on Tuesday. But U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe says he expects there will be more. It remains to be seen who else will be charged in this investigation.