Former Everglades City Mayor Sammy Hamilton Jr. was arrested Monday morning on one charge of grand theft and 16 counts of official misconduct, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Hamilton, who resigned as mayor in September, had sole control of the city's financial accounts and did not obtain a second signature on city checks, which is required by the city's charter.
FDLE began an investigation in September and said it found Hamilton had used his position to steal almost $48,000 in taxpayers' money to pay for boat parts, construction materials and equipment, and development fees.
He also authorized and issued 16 fraudulent checks from Everglades City under the guise of official business, an FDLE news release states.
Hamilton, who had been mayor since 1995, resigned Sept. 4 after facing mounting pressure from the City Council to leave, caused in part by ongoing maintenance problems at the city's water and wastewater treatment plants.
The problems at the water plants also sparked a recall petition against Hamilton, who resigned before the petition was submitted to the supervisor of elections. Hamilton had been mayor since 1995.
City Councilman Howell Grimm Jr. was appointed interim mayor in September and won the November election for the position.
Grimm issued a news release Monday afternoon stating the city is cooperating fully with authorities. He would not comment further since the investigation is ongoing.
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