A Texas mayor and her mayor pro tem have resigned from a small Texas town after being caught using city funds to pay for their expensive tickets to go see Michelle Obama at a book signing event.
Forest Hill, Texas, Mayor Lyndia Thomas and Mayor Pro Tem Beckie Hayes both submitted their resignations after they were told the city council intended to begin an investigation into the untoward use of city funds.
The two reportedly used city money to pay for their tickets to see Obama during her book tour event in Dallas last year, according to ABC News.
According to city officials, the two paid for the tickets out of their own pockets but then turned in vouchers for the $1,090.00 price tag and received reimbursement.
The expenditure was approved by the city manager, but Hayes claims she later repaid the ticket price to the city.
Mayor Thomas claimed she resigned to avoid having the city fire her.
“I will not leave my fate in the hands of other individuals,” Hayes told ABC affiliate WFAA. “I am a woman of integrity, and the allegations, they have no substance. They are false.”
Thomas had asked for a three-month period to “prepare” for her defense, but the city council decided to move ahead with a hearing anyway, thus prompting Thomas’ resignation.
According to the Star-Telegram:
Thomas said she received a letter on Jan. 8 listing the allegations against her, and argued that she had less than six weeks to prepare. “I am asking the council to pull the charges against myself and the mayor pro tem because we did not do anything illegally. If you don’t pull the charges, I ask that you you give us a chance to prepare.”
The council announced ahead of time that its meeting was set to consider dismissing the mayor over the abuse of city funds.
The council also pointed to other questionable expenses:
Meanwhile, Joubert, Jones and Boardingham said other questionable expenses include the purchase of school supplies, an event sponsored by the Links Foundation and meals at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse. They said the events and meals were not related to their duties as elected officials.
The resigned officials claimed they were subjected to a political witch hunt.
They also noted that neither take a salary from the city and are entitled to have expenses reimbursed.
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