Alabama mayor pleads guilty in ethics case, out of office

Alabama mayor pleads guilty in ethics case, out of office

LAFAYETTE, Ala. (AP) — The mayor of an eastern Alabama city pleaded guilty Wednesday to using his official position or office for personal gain.

Lanett Mayor Jonathon Kyle McCoy was immediately removed from office following his plea to felony ethics violations and is barred from holding office again, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a news release.

Under a plea agreement, McCoy admitted using his position as mayor to provide a city-owned Chevrolet Tahoe to a family member for about seven months. McCoy’s relative did not work for the city and had no government purpose in possessing the vehicle, Marshall’s office said.

McCoy, 57, also admitted using his position to avoid paying for city utility services on seven separate accounts.

By August 2019, McCoy owed more than $41,000 to the city of Lanett, Marshall’s office said.

“At that time, McCoy directed a city employee to put a hold on these accounts, which resulted in McCoy no longer incurring minimum fees and late charges as well as his accounts being removed from the city’s ‘cut-off’ list,” the news release said.

McCoy paid the $41,232 balance seven months later, but did not pay any late charges or fees for the period his accounts were on hold. Under the plea deal, McCoy agreed to pay $2,069 in unpaid fees and charges as restitution to the city, Marshall’s office said.

In addition, McCoy will pay another $12,124 in restitution to the city for money spent on personal items and gifts not related to city government. In total, McCoy will pay the city $14,193 in restitution.

“McCoy’s actions are appalling violations of the citizens’ trust and brazen abuses of his authority as mayor,” Marshall said. “The people of Lanett deserve leadership with honor and integrity. It is important that McCoy now is removed from office, that he may not be in a position to betray the public trust in the future, and that he is being held to account and (be) punished for his crimes.”

Chambers County Circuit Judge Steve Perryman set sentencing for Oct. 26.

McCoy, who was elected in October 2015, faces possible penalties of two to 20 years behind bars and fines of up to $30,000 for each of the two felony convictions.