Hodgenville Mayor denies accusations in local newspaper - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hodgenville Mayor denies accusations in local newspaper

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse is publicly defending himself after being charged with stealing taxpayer dollars.

Cruse took out an advertisement in Hodgenville's local newspaper, The LaRue County Herald News, responding to accusations that he spent thousands of dollars of city gas money filling up his personal car. In the ad, Cruse says the accusations aren't justified, and his innocence will be proven in time.

Terry Cruse, in his own words, explains himself to the taxpayers of Hodgenville, asking for support and understanding.

The advertisement, paid for by Cruse, focuses on a presentation given by the city council's private attorney at the last council meeting. The presentation was based on findings of a Kentucky State Police investigation. 

In the presentation by the city council's private attorney Michelle Sparks, allegations went beyond gas money. Sparks presented evidence collected by police that allege both the mayor and clerk increased their pay without approval, assisted their children in getting city jobs, and made questionable purchases on city credit cards.

In the advertisement, Cruse addresses the credit card purchases. He says Laundry was bought for maintenance crews, cat litter was used as oil dry, and a roast was used to prepare sandwiches for inmates and volunteers.

Cruse said if council members were concerned with charges, they should have questioned the monthly payments. But Phelps says council members never saw bills.

"We've never seen a Sam's invoice, cash register receipt, Lowe's receipt, any of those, so we really had no idea what they were purchasing until we passed a municipal order."

Cruse also claims the accusations are an attempt to replace him with city council member Jim Phelps. Phelps says he hasn't ruled out a run for mayor in the next election, but that isn't related to the investigation.

"As an elected official, we have an obligation to investigate these allegations," said Phelps. "I would be derelict in my duties as a council member if we didn't investigate."

WDRB reached out to Cruse. He denied comment.

The council plans to vote on whether to remove Cruse at a meeting in May.

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