Bay County, Florida educator on administrative leave after charge

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PANAMA CITY – A Bay County educator was placed on administrative leave Thursday after being indicted by the federal government in an ongoing public corruption investigation into Lynn Haven.

According to a statement from Bay District Schools released Friday, Antonius Barnes, also a former Lynn Haven commissioner, has been placed on administrative leave by Superintendent Bill Husfelt, pending the outcome of the case. Any other employment measure would be determined by the school board at some point in the future.

Barnes has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Honest Service Fraud, Material Counts of Wire Fraud and Honest Service Fraud.

Barnes, along with Phoenix Construction owner James Finch, reportedly conspired with former Lynn Haven mayor Margo Anderson and former city attorney Joseph Albritton “to secure contracts for many projects. multi-million dollar infrastructure and construction and debris cleanup activities after Hurricane Michael. were attributed to Finch. “

Barnes is the owner of We Insure Panama City.

Barnes is a longtime Bay County educator and has served as an administrator at several county schools.

BDS officials have said they will not be doing any interviews at this time, but have released a statement regarding Barnes’ indictment.

Bay District Schools

“Obviously this situation has nothing to do with the school board, but we demand that all educators meet the highest standards and so it is disturbing to hear that an employee is being charged with any crime.” , indicates the press release. “However, we have confidence in the justice system and always appreciate the diligence and thoroughness of our law enforcement partners.”

The indictment says Barnes and Anderson allegedly accepted money and gifts from Finch. The indictment also alleges that Finch granted Barnes $ 45,000 in loans that were never repaid.

While the indictment primarily includes post-Hurricane Michael crimes, it also includes pre-Michael crimes.

According to the indictment, Barnes consistently voted to approve Finch and his plans before, during and after receiving the money he received from Finch for a period of two years. Between August 2015 and December 2017, Barnes proposed, seconded, and voted on questions before the Town of Lynn Haven Commission favorable to Finch’s business interests, including the “One-Half Infrastructure Surcharge Design / Build Contract. -cent ”and the 17th Street project.

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