A Florida Lottery district manager was arrested on bribery charges Friday after allegedly accepting payment from a Gainesville store owner he thought was seeking preferential treatment in getting a lottery ticket machine.
Instead, the store owner was helping the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which was monitoring the action and arrested Donnie Hampton, district manager of the Florida Lottery's Jacksonville-Gainesville office, said Sharon Gogerty, an FDLE spokeswoman.
Hampton was accused of taking a $1,500 bribe.
He became the subject of an investigation by the Lottery's inspector general and the FDLE after the store owner reported to authorities a few months ago that a Lottery official offered to "move him to the top of the list" for a lottery ticket machine for his store, Gogerty said.
The FDLE set up a Friday meeting with Hampton at the store, where he took the money as FDLE agents watched in secret, Gogerty said.
Hampton was charged with bribery and unlawful compensation, both third degree felonies, and booked at the Bradford County Jail, Gogerty said. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer. The jail had no information and a woman who answered the telephone at Hampton's home declined comment late Friday.
The arrest came more than 1 1/2 months after a state investigation found that a former Lottery secretary and three other senior management staffs broke an ethics code when they accepted hundreds of dollars in meals and gifts from vendors while doing official business.
That three-month investigation also found that some travel-related documents had been falsified and that another employee was promoted after being investigated for misconduct and conducted personal business during state time.
The Florida Lottery's Personnel Code of Ethics states that no employee can take any gifts, regardless of value, from vendors or retailers.