Monday, February 04, 2008


During my years in South Florida, it seemed that was the biggest hotbed of corruption around. Every year some government official was charged or suspected of wrongdoing.

This morning it was nice to see that the Palm Beach Post's Tom Dubocq is nominated for a Goldsmith Award for investigative reporting, for a two-year investigation into corruption in Palm Beach County government, "Palm Beach County’s Culture of Corruption". Congrats to Tom.

But, now living in the relative peace of the southern Appalachian mountains, I find that there must be no place where corruption isn't the story in local government. For years, when I lived here before, I heard tales of county sheriffs with unlimited power and hands in pockets.

But recently it seems to be becoming a theme: This weekend in Chattanooga, the recently-elected sheriff of Hamilton County has been charged with extorting business owners, helping drug dealers move money, and procuring a gun for a felon. Chattanooga Times Free Press: Sheriff Long arrested. Note the list of 11 east Tennessee sheriffs accused of corruption over the last few years.

In nearby Asheville, the former sheriff was indicted in late 2007 for taking protection money from video poker operators. Asheville Citizen-Times: Medford jailed until trial.

South Florida, you're not alone.

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