Hodgenville city council could vote to remove mayor today - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hodgenville city council could vote to remove mayor today

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HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hodgenville's Mayor could be ousted from his job today over allegations that he violated multiple city ordinances. The possible ordinance violations came to light during a Kentucky State Police Investigation that resulted in over sixty criminal charges against both the mayor and city clerk.

City council members were inside City Hall Thursday for what they hoped would be the final day of testimony in a special hearing that may remove the mayor of Hodgenville from office.

The hearing is separate from an upcoming criminal trial, involving charges that Mayor Terry Cruse and City Clerk Madonna Hornback used city gas cards to fill up personal vehicles. The charges also allege that both Hornback and Cruse allowed family members to fill up, and that the pair was double dipping--using the city gas card, and then turning in receipts for reimbursement.

Together, they face around 60 charges of abusing public trust. The charges stem from a Kentucky State Police investigation that alleges that both Cruse and Hornback stole taxpayer dollars. The police Auditor found that Hornback had over 500 fuel transactions on her city gas card, worth more than $22,000 in 18 months. Cruse's bill is more than $10,000.

Both have denied these allegations and pleaded not guilty in court.

During the removal hearing Tuesday, attorneys spent time questioning witnesses about unauthorized wage increases, alleged document shredding, and allegations of nepotism.

Citing evidence gathered during the police investigation, private attorney for the city council Michelle Sparks claimed Cruse's annual income increased $6,000 in the last seven years. She said city ordinance doesn't allow for such an increase. Meanwhile, Hornback's hourly pay went from $12 to $24.75 in seven years without city council approval.

Sparks also took issue with the fact that both Cruse and Hornback's sons started employment with the city during the mayor's term. Sparks said the employment of direct family members was in violation of the city's nepotism policy.

In order for the mayor to be removed from office, there must be a unanimous vote. The vote will not take place until testimony wraps up.

Stay with WDRB News. We'll bring you more information as this story develops.

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