DeFuniak grand jury investigation complete

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The grand jury was convened to look into multiple complaints of fiscal mismanagement within DeFuniak Springs city government.


 A Walton County grand jury has completed its investigation into the inner workings of the city of DeFuniak Springs and turned in a written report detailing its findings.

Those findings will not include a true bill or indictment, and therefore, by state statute, the report is considered confidential and exempt from public scrutiny for 15 days.

During that 15-day period, those named in the report have the opportunity to request that some portions be expunged or the entire document be permanently withheld.

If such a request is made, Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Wells would hold a hearing to decide the merits of the request, and whatever portion of the grand jury report Wells deems can be released would be made public following the hearing, according to Greg Anchors, the chief assistant state attorney for Walton County.

The grand jury was convened in late December to look at evidence uncovered during a State Attorney’s Office investigation into multiple complaints of fiscal mismanagement within DeFuniak Springs’ city government.

Complaints received included “questions about delays in filing the proper paperwork to receive sales tax money from the state in a timely fashion,” State Attorney Bill Eddins said.

City Attorney Clayton Adkinson turned a report over to the DeFuniak Springs City Council last June in which he detailed the city’s loss of nearly $221,000 in sales tax revenues and municipal revenue sharing funds. The money was forfeited when city staff failed to file required audits and annual financial reports on time.

The late filing issue was made worse by a failure of anyone in city government to respond to multiple letters from state financial authorities, Adkinson said in his report.

A minimum of 11 people associated with the operation of city government, including sitting DeFuniak Springs Mayor Bob Campbell and seven past or present city council members, were subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury.

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