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March 7th, 2014
08:35 PM ET

The most corrupt town in America?

Hampton, Florida (CNN) - How off-the-charts corrupt do you have to be to capture somebody's attention in the Sunshine State?

You can lay claim to a 1,260-foot stretch of busy highway a mile outside of town and set up one of the nation's most notorious speed traps. You can use the ticket money to build up a mighty police force - an officer for every 25 people in town - and, residents say, let drugs run rampant while your cops sit out by the highway on lawn chairs, pointing radar guns at everybody who passes by.

Of course, none of those things are illegal. But when you lose track of the money and the mayor gets caught up in an oxy-dealing sting, that's when the politicians at the state Capitol in Tallahassee take notice.

Now they want this city gone, and the sooner the better.

A state audit of Hampton's books, released last month, reads like a primer on municipal malfeasance. It found 31 instances in which local rules or state or federal laws were violated in ways large and small.

Read the audit (PDF)

Somewhere along the way, the place became more than just a speed trap. Some say the ticket money corrupted Hampton, making it the dirtiest little town in Florida.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. kahtikhan

    Silly me .. I thought the most corrupt "town" in the US was DC!!

    March 23, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply
  2. brian nunez

    well the homeless problem in oldsmar is getting a little crazy also i see people sitting in the store locations every day or walking the streets.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  3. brian nunez

    i dont think it is the most corrupt they might need to relize a better tree growing and park system but i think over all by looking at the quality of the water and the moss it looked pretty good to be in the area . the people looked freindly and the town needs to be in better shape for summer. i think it is good to be there.oldsmar is in good shape i like it there to cause it looks good to have parks and better irrigation systems . but they are getting involved in better water conservation and fishing practices. the energy cunsumption is low.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  4. lucky

    Some one needs to look at Wood co Tx the S.O. turns a blind eye to murder

    March 12, 2014 at 8:07 am | Reply
  5. Denver Todd

    One of the things that leads to corruption is the dependence on traffic tickets to generate too great of a percentage of a town's budget. It just leads to abusive police practices. In Colorado, there are a number of similar towns; Mountain View and Lakeside are micro-town examples with abusive police practices similar to Hampton's. The latter has probably 10 residents at most, but sports a relatively large police department and court house right out of a Stephen King novel. In fact, other than the amusement park, a few houses, and a Walmart, there is nothing else to the town other than the police department, which doubles as the security guards to the amusement park and Walmart; the town doesn't even have any internal marked roads. Mountain View rivals Lakeside in terms of abusive police practices, but it doesn't even pretend to provide any other policing other than to write tickets along a very narrow stretch of its borders. Want to engage with these towns on this issue? Get ready for evil personified. I hate saying this, but there really ought to be a law to rid the landscape of towns like this.

    March 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  6. Dan clark

    I beg to differ with that story of Hampton being the most corrupt. I have evidence and proof pending, that a small town has much more corruption by the Name of Leechburg Pa. If you were to follow the local news paper called the Valley News Dispatch, you will easily be capable of seeing the cover of what's going on. What you read is only the tip of the whole story. There will be civil case law created by two dissed officers when they get their chance to fight back.

    March 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  7. Courtney

    This was a great story. PLEASE look into Hayesville, NC. The corruption there is staggering. The state had to out the sheriff they have deputies in jail.....their DSS its a joke! There its no accountability! The closest major city in any direction its 2 miles away. And their "justice" system is a joke!!!

    March 8, 2014 at 8:42 am | Reply

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