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Bay corruption probe: Anderson, Finch want remaining charges against them dismissed

Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson stands near the water on the north side of town. Much of Lynn Haven sustained catastrophic damage in the hurricane last year.
William Widmer for NPR
Former Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson stands near the water on the north side of town. Much of Lynn Haven sustained catastrophic damage from Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Most of the federal charges brought against former Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson and local businessman James Finch were dropped in October.

The pair now want the remaining charges dismissed, citing mistakes by the prosecution, according to the latest court filings.

Anderson was first indicted in August of 2020 on more than 60 counts of federal charges stemming from alleged misuse of Hurricane Michael cleanup and recovery funds.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Florida has dropped most of those charges – leaving two counts against Anderson remaining.

Finch, who owns Phoenix Construction Company was indicted in March of 2021 on 14 counts. That's now down to four.

Anderson is accused of accepting free flights to the Florida Keys and a motorhome from Finch in exchange for votes awarding city contracts to his business.

Both Anderson and Finch have asked the court to dismiss the remaining charges, citing mistakes by the prosecution.

During a hearing in mid-December, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker requested a list of “bad acts” and “bad actors” from the defense.

That list members of federal and local law enforcement.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.