Suwannee Democrat


January 22, 2014

McCollum home fines in the thousands

Historic home cited for city violations has $36K in fines

Live Oak —

A lien against a property on which an historical home sits that once belonged to Ruby McCollum has accumulated more than $36,000 in fines for several city violations that have not been satisfied, City Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Touchton reported.

The house at 218 Woods Ave. in Live Oak was once the family home of the late numbers racketeer Sam McCollum and his wife Ruby McCollum, who was once accused of shooting and killing Dr. C. Leroy Adams in the fifties in his office in downtown Live Oak. The estate is currently under the ownership of their son, Sam McCollum Jr. 

“As of Jan. 14, the fine has grown to $36,400.00,” Touchton said. “The lien was filed Jan. 15, 2013 and the fine is $100 per day until compliance is achieved.”

Before the deed of the property can change hands, the lien must be satisfied with the city.

Sam McCollum Jr. was cited on Sept. 20, 2012 for several violations and was told to remove all weeds, undergrowth, clean up trash around the property and other demands by the city within 30 days of a code enforcement hearing at City Hall. 

Sam McCollum Jr. failed to comply, so the city moved forward with placing a lien against his property.

“When you apply a lien, it applies to all of the properties a person owns in the state of Florida,” Touchton said. “Mr. McCollum homesteads this property so the city can lien it but we cannot foreclose on homesteaded property.”

Touchton said Sam McCollum Jr. does have additional property in Live Oak.

When Sam McCollum Jr. has satisfied the violations, Touchton will then file an affidavit of compliance. He will then have the opportunity to go before a magistrate to ask for a reduction in fines. 

Ruby McCollum became infamous in 1952 when she was convicted of killing Dr. C. Leroy Adams, a physician in Live Oak who also ran for and was elected state senator. On Aug. 3, 1952, McCollum, a black woman, was accused of shooting and killing the white doctor. Prosecutors say she shot him over a medical bill she owed. Some believe that McCollum didn’t shoot Adams over a small doctor bill since she and her husband were wealthy. This event made headlines across the nation during the time of segregation. 

During McCollum’s first trial, she was convicted of first degree murder, but the conviction and death sentence were overturned because of the judge’s failure to be present while the jury inspected the crime scene. McCollum was declared mentally incompetent during her second trial and spent 20 years at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. Several books and independent films have been written about the significance of that event that took place.


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