Liberty County FEMA Scam: As Classy as Expected

A county judge and a county commissioner used Hurricane Ike as a personal moneymaking scheme, according to federal indictments announced today.

Best part: Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald had FEMA buy the county a large generator which he then used to power Fitzpak, the convenience store he owns. Because most county judges, you know, run convenience stores.

Fitzgerald and former county commissioner Lee Groce were indicted, along with local businessman Mark Miksch, who (naturally) is Fitzgerald's brother-in-law. Both Fitzgerald and Groce are out of office now.

The 25-count indictment says the county officials steered more than $3 million in debris-removal business to companies who agreed to subcontract with Miksch, who then, in perhaps an excess of gratitude, kicked back a portion of the proceeds.

Fitzgerald, feds say, pocketed $600,000 from the scheme. Not to mention keeping the Fitzpak customers happy.

If convicted, Fitzgerald, Groce and Miksch each face sentences of up to five years in federal prison on a conspiracy charge. Additional charges range between five and 30 years in federal prison.

They are expected to make an appearance in court next week.

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