The following article from the Gainesville Sun is
about the "Ex-Dixie officials sentenced to 3 years" in
the Federal slammer. This article should be of
particular interest to elected officials in every county
Apparently the Feds had their eyes on this area of
Florida for some time. Dixie County had crooked elected
officials with large ego's and a case of
severe arrogance in conducting the people's business.
Who could not imagine that there are other counties in
Florida with the same problem?
It will be interesting to see if the magnifying glass
is also on other local Florida governments and
their elected officials and non-elected
government employees, who are in positions of receiving
gifts and special treatment and disbursing them to their
friends and the well connected.
Observing what is transpiring at all levels of
government in this country, one would think that the
people serving the public would begin to understand that
"we the people" will no longer accept the actions
of "greedy pigs".
Accountability and transparency must become the focus
of what "we the people" expect from all areas of
government. Failure to focus on these basic concepts is
the beginning of being "fired" at the next election!
History has demonstrated that when greed becomes a
way of life, the "pigs" focus on whatever it takes to
feed their appetite and will eventually slip and slide
in their own slime and ultimately lose their footing
within the confines of their pens. Once that happens,
they become prey, in transit to the Federal legal system
slaughter yard. Only then, can the pen begin to be
cleansed. Cleansing is a function of attrition.
Ex-Dixie officials sentenced to 3 years
Published in the
Gainesville Sun: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 6:01
John Lee Driggers and
Alton Land also were fined $10K and will serve
probation after their time in prison.
Voyles Staff Writer
Former Dixie County commissioners John Lee "Big
John" Driggers and Alton Land were each sentenced
Wednesday to three years and one month in federal
prison for their bribery convictions.
The two men were also fined $10,000 apiece and
ordered to serve three years' probation following
their prison terms.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Stephan P. Mickle
allowed Land and Driggers to return to their homes
following the sentencing but told them they must
report for their prison terms by noon on Feb. 11.
Before the sentences were handed down, both
former commissioners had family members, pastors and
close friends speak on their behalf before the two
men spoke to the judge directly.
"I am ashamed of the crime I have done here,"
Driggers said. "I have served the last year in great
remorse for it."
Land asked the judge to consider an alternative
sentence because he is caring for an ailing wife who
had been hospitalized three times in the last year.
"If you can, have mercy on my wife, and after she
passes you can give me life," Land said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McMahon told Mickle
that those who spoke on behalf of Driggers and Land
apparently had only been exposed to one side of the
former commissioners' personalities.
"Your character isn't what you do in front of
people," McMahon said, "It's what you do behind
Land, Driggers and Billy Keen Jr., Dixie County's
former building and zoning inspector, were convicted
in August of conspiracy, soliciting bribes and lying
to federal agents about the money they accepted in
exchange for promising favorable decisions by the
Dixie County Commission on specific development
Keen was previously sentenced to 6 1/2 years in
federal prison and three years' probation.
Driggers and Land were the first elected
officials sentenced in a wide-ranging, undercover,
federal corruption investigation.
In all, six former Dixie and Levy County
officials have been convicted in connection with the
same undercover case.
An FBI agent from New Jersey posed as a
representative of a development company willing to
pay bribes to ensure that the fictitious firm's
plans did not encounter any stumbling blocks in the
McMahon told Mickle on Wednesday that the case
began in 2004 when former Dixie County Sheriff Larry
Edmonds and his wife, Pam, complained to federal
officials about vote-buying in the rural county.
Keen, who was convicted of vote-buying nearly 20
years ago, reportedly agreed to work with federal
officials undercover, but then began stepping
outside the agreement and skimmed some money off the
top that he was supposed to pass off to the
The investigation eventually grew to include Levy
County commissioners Sammy Yearty and Tony Parker,
who were convicted on similar charges and are
scheduled to be sentenced in April.
Others convicted in the case include former Cross
City police chief and suspended town council member
Marcellus Dawson and the city's public works
superintendent, Johnny Miller Greene.
They were found guilty during a jury trial
earlier this month and are scheduled to be sentenced
Most of those swept up in the case told their
supporters or had their attorneys argue that they
had been entrapped.
Driggers continued that argument at sentencing.
"If this crime had not been created by the FBI, I
would not be up here today," Driggers said. The
undercover agency "handed [money] to me and I took
it. I don't know why."
Throughout the trial and during the sentencing,
witnesses and McMahon noted several times that
others were approached during the undercover
operation but declined to accept any money.
As an example Wednesday, McMahon recounted
testimony from the trial about Land's effort to draw
in Commissioner James Valentine.
McMahon said Land took the undercover agent to
meet Valentine, who refused to take any money,
declaring it wrong.
When Land and the agent left Valentine's home,
the agent reportedly expressed concern that
Valentine would go to the police about the proffered
Land's response, according to McMahon, was that
it would be Valentine's word against the word of
Land and the agent.
Contact Karen Voyles at 359-5656 or
SENTENCING: Defendants have claimed entrapment