PIKEVILLE, TN (WRCB) - The mayor of one Bledsoe County town is facing charges for misusing more than $170,000 of taxpayer money. Channel 3 is gathering details on the investigation into Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson.
Mayor Johnson is in his third term as Pikeville mayor. Findings of state audit covering the last two years led a grand jury to indict Johnson on four counts of official misconduct and one count of theft over $60,000. We're finding out the reason for the charges and what that could mean for his future in office.
Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson bonded out of jail, but he wasn't in his office when Channel 3 stopped by Friday.
"He's still acting mayor. We're basically waiting, you know. You're innocent until proven guilty," Board of Aldermen member William Swearingen said.
The District Attorney's office says it requested a state audit after hearing about the discovery of 10 salvaged cars being stored on piece of city property.
"There seemed to be no reason for the purchase of those vehicles and nobody could figure out why they were purchased," District Attorney Mike Taylor of the 12th Judicial District said.
District Attorney Mike Taylor says they weren't the type of cars for city use and Johnson hasn't said why he purchased and shipped them up from Alabama. Taylor found more inconsistencies.
"That led to other information which eventually resulted in the indictments," Taylor said.
Among the official misconduct charges -- buying a car for personal use and unauthorized health insurance for himself. It says he also used money meant for a vehicle allowance, for personal use. That's in addition to a theft charge of more than $60,000. It all adds up to about $176,000 of city money.
"Makes me mad. Supposed to be going to the town and the community and everything, and he's lining his own pockets with it," Pikeville resident David Roberson said.
City Attorney Ed Boring explained to Channel 3 that the mayor can only be ousted if the alleged misconduct happened since his term renewal at the beginning of this year. According to the indictment papers, three of the five charges do stretch into February.
Boring says the Board of Aldermen could vote Johnson out and wouldn't have to wait until his trial. But, that's not what Aldermen William Swearingen thinks will happen.
"We'll just have to wait until his trial and see where it goes from there," Swearingen said.
Greg Johnson's attorney Steve Greer appeared on his behalf in court Friday-- giving a not guilty plea. His next court date is September 26th when they'll decide if the case is ready to go to trial.
The Board of Aldermen meets August 13th. The city attorney says member will likely discuss the situation then, unless they call an emergency meeting before that.