10 images Created 10 Apr 2014
HAMPTON, FLA. - For years, she saw signs that something was awry in her quiet city. Linda Godwin saw the city clerk grabbing cigarettes and drinks at the local convenience store, telling the clerk something and then walking out without paying. Her son-in-law told her of riding into Gainesville in a city vehicle with the city clerk’s son, watching him rack up bills at Walmart on the city credit card. He suspected the expenditures were personal. She knew her daughter would go months without the clerk collecting a water bill. Occasionally, she’d go to the clerk’s house and pay cash. No receipt was issued. In a town about one square mile with fewer than 500 residents, stories like this don’t stay secret. But the city’s small size both allowed it to dodge external oversight and made internal change difficult.