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HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse has released a statement regarding the multiple counts both he and Hodgenville City Clerk MaDonna Hornback face.
Mayor Cruse and City Clerk Hornback surrendered to authorities around 8 a.m. Tuesday, after they were indicted on dozens of felony charges.
Mayor Cruse was charged with 14 felonies Monday, stemming from alleged misuse of city funds. City Clerk Hornback was charged with 55 felonies.
Cruse faces nine counts of abusing public trust, one count of theft, two counts of campaign contribution restrictions/expenditures limits, and one count of forgery in the second degree.
Hornback faces 54 counts of abusing public trust and one count of theft.
They both posted $9,500 bail and were released Tuesday.
Both Hornback and Cruse returned to work Tuesday afternoon. Cruse spoke with WDRB's Courtney Godfrey, saying he was still meeting with attorneys and sorting through the exact charges.
"Obviously, yesterday was a long day for us," said Cruse. "I am at this point with my attorney looking over the allegations. Other than that, I really don't have anything to say."
When we asked Cruse if he used city gas cards to fill-up a personal car, he had no response. "I can't comment on that until tomorrow," he said.
City council member Jim Phelps says although he wants to reserve judgment, he was shocked by the news.
"It's going to be hard to explain," said Phelps. But until there is a conviction, he says, it will be business as usual at city hall. "They haven't been proven guilty yet, so we have to give them the benefit of the doubt until we see the evidence."
Cruse is also facing charges having to do with the alleged improper reporting or mishandling of donations to his 2010 run for LaRue County Sheriff.
"A grand jury is one sided, it's a one sided story," said Cruse.
Mayor Cruse's full statement is below:
We are obviously disappointed at the outcome of the grand jury's decision. Both MaDonna and I maintain our innocence. I would like to assure the good citizens of Hodgenville that have elected me as their mayor that when this is over, the outcome will be much different than it looks today.
We prepared an eight-page statement setting out our position on what we understood was being investigated. We also requested to the Commonwealth that the statement be presented to the grand jury for their review. We were also available to testify and explain our prepared statement. For whatever reason, the grand jury declined to hear or review our statement or review the allegations with us. Chief Steve Johnson was also available to testify to matters that would support our position.
As the charge of the nine allegations of abuse of public trust against myself and the 54 allegations against MaDonna for same, they strictly deal with gas purchases on a City gas credit card, which we feel was legitimately under City policy.
The theft by unlawful taking (for each of us) refers to the occasions that we were entitled to mileage payments we charged a state rate of 55 cents per mile and the Commonwealth claims the rate should have been 47 cents. We believe the rate of 55 cents was correct based on other government authority.
Lastly, the count relating to campaign contribution restrictions states I accepted a cash payment over $50 which exceeded the limit of an individual cash contribution and the two counts of fraud related to my alleged failure to technically report the same, occurring in the 2010 sheriff's election.
The state's investigation, I understand, was completed in October. Since that time, my attorney has requested to sit down and review these records with the Commonwealth in hopes of reviewing both sides of the story without this becoming a grand jury matter.
I fully intend to continue on as your mayor, with no thought of resignation – as well as my clerk-treasurer, MaDonna Hornback. The City of Hodgenville will continue offering the same services it always has and business hours will be the same.
I feel that we have served the city well and will continue to do so in the future. To our friends we ask for your prayers and support through the difficult times ahead.
In closing I would like to remind everyone that an indictment is only an accusation, generally decided based on one side of the story and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.