For the second
time in history, a Tampa man was elected
Governor of Florida in 1928. He was Doyle E.
Carlton, prominent attorney. He took office in
January 1929, and was chief executive for four
depression years. During his administration,
pari-mutuel gambling was voted by the
Legislature, vetoed by Carlton, and passed over
1928, L.M. Hatton, Jr. was elected Sheriff of
Hillsborough County in a freak election. His
mother died on election eve and Hatton was swept
into office on a big sympathy vote. In one
of the closest races in Hillsborough County
history, Hatton defeated three former sheriffs:
L. C. Hiers, William Spencer, and A. J. White.
In office only
a few months, Hatton was accused of receiving
$10,000 a month from the county’s liquor and
gambling violators. According to an affidavit
signed by Deputy John Harrington, who was
Sheriff Hatton’s liaison with Tampa’s
became sheriff [I] was authorized by Hatton to
make collections weekly of sums of money from
persons violating the liquor and gambling laws,
the amount of such collections to be fixed by
the affidavit upon the character of the business
done by such law violators.
claimed that Hatton maintained two lists of
violators-an active and inactive. Individuals on
the active list paid the sheriff and were
allowed to continue their illegal operations.
Those on the inactive list refused to pay the
sheriff and immediately had their "joints"
Deputy Harrington’s sworn statement and other
damaging testimony, Governor Doyle Carlton
removed the crooked sheriff. His decision was
later upheld by the Legislature.
Hatton claimed he was "the victim of one of the
rottenest political deals ever handed an officer
of this county."
TRIBUNE Volume XI December, 1985 TAMPA’S MOST
RAUCOUS, ROARIN’ DECADE By Hampton Dunn
SUNLAND TRIBUNE Volume XVII November, 1991
Journal of the TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY Tampa,
Florida THE DAMNEDEST TOWN THIS SIDE OF
HELL: TAMPA, 1920-29. (PART II) By DR. FRANK