Official arrested being paid to raise money for festival

Okaloosa County Commissioner James F. Campbell was arrested today and charged with four counts of official misconduct and four counts of perjury.

According to the arrest report, Campbell, who was elected in 2004, received more than $10,000 in payments from the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival under an agreement by which Campbell would solicit sponsorships for the event and be paid a commission. The sponsors included Cellular South, Hammock Bay Real Estate, Crystal Bay Development, Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, Northwest Florida Regional Airport and Nufletch.

Campbell, who is also the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Niceville where the festival is held, failed to report any of the income on his Form 6 financial disclosure reports that are required by law to list all income sources for an elected official. The commissioner initially blamed his wife for the oversight, but said he had not disclosed the income to her because he considered the festival commissions as extra spending money for his hunting expenses.

He also told FDLE investigators that he had solicited sponsors because his boss, Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, had told him to help the festival get sponsors. Corbin disputed the claim and stated that he had given no directive–explicit or implied–to Campbell to recruit sponsors for the event.

Campbell was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail today.

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