Two more officials in Dixie County convicted


Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.

Two more Dixie County men were convicted Friday as part of a federal undercover investigation into corruption by public officials.

Former Cross City police chief and suspended town council member Marcellus Dawson and the city's public works superintendent, Johnny Miller Greene, were found guilty as charged.

Both men were convicted of conspiracy and of accepting bribes. Greene was also convicted of lying to the FBI about the $600 he was convicted of taking.

Witnesses at the four-day trial at the federal courthouse in Gainesville testified that Dawson accepted $1,600 from an undercover FBI agent. Jurors deliberated less than two hours before handing down the guilty verdicts.

Friday's convictions bring to six the number of Dixie and Levy County officials 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 coastal counties.

Previously, former Dixie County commissioners John Driggers and Alton Land and suspended Levy County Commissioners Sammy Yearty and Tony Parker were convicted of charges similar to those on which Dawson and Greene were convicted.

Driggers and Land, who lost their bids for re-election during the undercover investigation, are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

Yearty and Parker, who were suspended from office by Gov. Charlie Crist immediately after being charged in the case, are scheduled to be sentenced on April 5. Sentencing for Dawson and Green was set for May 3.

Dawson, who retired as police chief several years ago, was suspended from his town council seat by Crist following his indictment. However, Greene has continued to work for the city.

Local officials have said Greene is the most knowledgeable person in the area about how to keep the town's water system operating. Greene's status is expected to be addressed during the council's next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night.

State and local officials have been researching how to proceed in the cases of the suspended officials who have not resigned from their seats.

There are also two pending, related criminal cases working their way through the federal court system.

Pamela Williams Blair, former executive director of Levy County's Enterprise Zone Development Agency, was scheduled to be tried with Yearty and Parker but due to potential conflicts in the case, her trial has been set to begin March 1. Blair is accused of making false statements.

Joey Lander, the former county attorney in Dixie County, was convicted several weeks ago of money laundering and mail fraud in a case involving a start-up vitamin company and two land developments. Witnesses said they were bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by Lander.

The crimes occurred while Lander was in the official position as Dixie County attorney. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1.

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