U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe forms Public Trust Unit to investigate corruption cases in the North Florida District

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The man whose office issued search warrants and subpoenas here in Bay County, says he’s now stepping up his investigation on public officials who break the law.

U.S. attorney, Larry Keefe, has formed the Public Trust Unit to investigate corruption cases in the North Florida District, which runs from Gainesville to Pensacola and includes our area.

“That very small group that serves for their own illegal benefit or profit, and those who illegally seek to influence them, will be the targets of our work in the Public Trust Unit,” Keefe said.

Keefe’s new anti-corruption unit has set-up shop on the third floor of the federal courthouse in downtown Tallahassee. Besides U.S. prosecutors, the team includes FBI and IRS agents, as well as members of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit.

Keefe announced the new effort Tuesday, immediately after former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox and his business partner pleaded guilty to their involvement in a pay-to-play bribery scheme.

He believes Maddox is not an isolated case. But, he’s reluctant to elaborate on any additional cases, or if the Lynn Haven investigation is part of the new unit’s case-load.

“We would not be establishing this Public Trust Unit, and doing all of the things I am telling you about today if we were not pursuing all sorts of leads in all sorts of places, that I simply can’t share with you,” Keefe said.

Back in April, Keefe’s office issued a subpoena to Lynn Haven city officials for records and documents relating to Hurricane Michael clean up or debris removal by Erosion Control Specialists and GreanLeaf Lawn Care. These documents included bids, quotes, contracts and other documents, emails and text communications.

Prosecutors also subpoenaed the same type of documents from Bay District School officials for Erosion Control, GreenLeaf and GAC contractors.

No word as to if, or when, any action may be taken in this investigation.

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