Lake View mayor resigns, admits ethics violation

0

Lake View Mayor Paul Calhoun has admitted to violating state ethics law and has stepped down, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.

Marshall announced on Wednesday that Calhoun, 45, had pleaded guilty in Tuscaloosa County District Court to voting on an issue in which he had a financial interest.

This constitutes a violation and is a Class A misdemeanor under Alabama law.

A sentencing date has not yet been set, but penalties for a Class A misdemeanor can be up to one year in prison, or a fine of up to $ 6,000, or both.

Calhoun was an elected Lake View city councilor when he was appointed mayor by the ex-governor. Robert Bentley in June 2016.

Her appointment came after then-mayor Bruce Wade and two city councilors abruptly stepped down.

Calhoun won his first full term as mayor later that same year.

Following a dispute with City Council over official travel and whether he would be required to reimburse the city for unauthorized out-of-state expenses incurred, Calhoun, as a voting member of Lake View City Council , voted “no” on a motion to compel payment, causing a tie that led to the motion’s failure, Marshall’s office said.

As part of Wednesday’s guilty plea, Calhoun agreed to step down and not stand for re-election in the next municipal election.

“Former Mayor Calhoun crossed the line when he violated the state’s ethical laws for his personal benefit,” Marshall said in a press release announcing the conviction. “We expect public officials to conduct themselves with integrity and when they don’t, they will be held to account. “

Calhoun was publicly criticized in December when two members of the Lake View city council began to press for Calhoun to be removed from his post.

A petition filed in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court alleged Calhoun used taxpayer money for personal expenses, brandished loaded guns to threaten employees, and concealed illegal expenses from council.

Several other charges of corruption, abuse of power, dereliction of duty and incompetence were described in the 10-page dossier.

“We want this mayor removed from his post,” said city councilor Toni Braddy. “The people of Lake View need this man to be removed from power while there is still one town in Lake View. “

At the time, no criminal charges were filed against Calhoun, but the Alabama Ethics Commission ruled that he had twice violated ethics laws, according to the petition, and forwarded cases to the Attorney General’s office for review.

Five Lake View residents, including two city council members, brought the motion for impeachment to Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Brad Almond, alleging willful negligence, incompetence, corruption and abuse of power, between other offenses.

The impeachment petition, which remained pending before Almond on Wednesday, accused Calhoun of a number of constitutional violations, including:

• Failure to protect the city’s economic position by signing off on spending beyond what council previously approved.

• Use of Lake View resources to direct business to the insurance-based private advisory group it owns

• Take ownership of the city and then try to prevent city officials from recovering the property or a refund

• Obstructing the police department’s investigations into the removal of this property

• Use of city credit card for personal purchases.

He was also accused of ordering his subordinates to submit overpayments to suppliers or employees whom he “favored”, according to the petition, while making false statements to state and federal authorities, breaking contracts. service providers and by “regularly” canceling meetings “without prior written notification”.

“In his conduct as mayor of the city of Lake View, Alabama, Paul Calhoun has displayed a level of incompetence detrimental to the city and its ability to develop and prosper,” the lawsuit said. .

Contact Jason Morton at [email protected].

Share.

Comments are closed.