Panama City, FL –
LYNN HAVEN, Fla .– Former Lynn Haven City District Attorney Adam Albritton is expected to change his plea on Friday from not guilty to guilty.
Albritton, along with former mayor Margo Anderson, city council member Antonious Barnes, and Phoenix Construction owner James Finch are charged with a criminal conspiracy to get rich before and after Hurricane Michael.
Albritton worked closely with Anderson and is said to have a significant amount of information on the case.
It is most likely the twist which federal prosecutors referred to last week when they announced they would be proceeding with a new indictment. Prosecutors had suffered a setback when Judge Mark Walker dismissed a grand conspiracy charge against the four defendants, but Albritton’s plea and expected testimony against the other three could breathe new life into the case.
If he goes through Albritton becomes the sixth person to plead guilty in the case. The other five are former City Manager Mike White, Lynn Haven Community Services Manager David Horton, Erosion Control Specialist Owner David White and ECS Employee Shannon Rodriguez, and Joshua Daniel Anderson, GreenLeaf Owner Bay County Lawn Care.
They are also expected to testify against Finch, Anderson and Barnes if the case goes to trial.
The case itself is a mishmash of alleged criminal conspiracies that prosecutors say were linked. Walker disagreed with the decision that only some of the various crimes were linked to each of the remaining defendants.
Here’s how he described them:
- 17th Street: Finch bribed Anderson (the mayor) and Barnes (a city commissioner) to support his plans with the town of Lynn Haven. Additionally, Finch secured one of those projects, the 17th Street Project, through a bid-rigging deal with other companies, including Company A (GAC Contractors Inc.).
- ECS: Erosion Control Specialists (ECS) bribed Michael White (the city manager), Anderson and Albritton (the city lawyer) and in return received hurricane cleanup and pickup contracts garbage. ECS also submitted false invoices and, when those invoices were paid, paid bribes to Albritton.
- Debris Disposal: Unbeknownst to the town, Company A employed Albritton. Albritton ordered city contractors to use Company A’s property to clear the debris. After meeting with Anderson, Finch, White and the owner of Company A, Anderson asked Companies C and D to get rid of the debris on one of Finch’s properties. Anderson also vetoed White’s plan to designate city-owned property as a disposal site and garnered state government support for a plan to use the Finch site. At the same time, Anderson accepted things of value from Finch.
- WorldClaim: WorldClaim, a public appraisal company, approached Individual A, a City contract engineer, with a proposal: help us secure a contract to assist the City with its hurricane-related claims and we’ll give you a percentage of whatever we’ll get back. Individual A, in turn, approached Anderson and White, offering free WorldClaim services. Anderson and White signed a deal with WorldClaim using Anderson’s post-hurricane emergency powers. WorldClaim, in turn, provided them with free or discounted services.
- Rebuild: After Hurricane Michael, the City had to rebuild many of its facilities. Finch bribed Anderson to get inside information and to put pressure on city officials to help Finch get the reconstruction project at a cost significantly higher than what the city would pay for their project. reconstruction already planned.
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