published Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Pikeville mayor resigns as of Sept. 1

Pikeville, Tenn., Mayor Greg Johnson
Pikeville, Tenn., Mayor Greg Johnson
Photo by Ben Benton /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Findings

Below is a list of findings in a state comptroller's office's audit issued Aug. 9 that led to criminal charges against Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson.

$15,900: Purchase of 2008 Honda Element turned over to family member;

$1,942: Mayor's payment to cover a portion of charges on the town credit card for personal expenses during a trip to Florida;

$522: Mayor's charges at Gatlinburg-area restaurants and motels over several weekends during 2011;

$109,900: Purchase of 10 used vehicles from out-of-state vendors, most appearing to have been in accidents;

$35,599: Unauthorized payments for health insurance benefits that already were being provided through the employer of the mayor's spouse;

$130,711: Payments made to mayor for insurance reimbursements since January 2005;

$16,200: Unauthorized payments for vehicle allowance benefits;

$6,237: Additional unauthorized payments to mayor for gasoline over the 11 months prior to January 2012;

$37,200: Payments made to mayor since March 2007 for vehicle allowance benefits to which he was not entitled.

Source: Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury

Pikeville Mayor resignation
Pikeville Mayor resignation

Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson, accused of improperly spending as much as $250,000 in city money, has announced he will step down Sept. 1.

City Attorney Ed Boring confirmed Wednesday that the three-term mayor has submitted his resignation to the Pikeville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

"As a result of recent developments and the controversy surrounding my service as the mayor of the city of Pikeville, it has become increasingly difficult for me to provide effective leadership for the city as its mayor," Johnson stated in a single-paragraph letter to city leaders. "Consequently, for the benefit of the city of Pikeville and its residents, I hereby tender my resignation as mayor of the city of Pikeville."

Johnson was charged in July with four counts of official misconduct and theft over $60,000 in connection with accusations that he spent as much as $250,000 in city funds for his personal gain.

Boring said no replacement has been named and, since the city panel is formed as a mayor and a board with no vice mayor post, the vacancy must be filled by board appointment.

The Board of Aldermen could take up the matter at its Sept. 10 meeting, he said.

The situation makes Pikeville resident Suzanne Schoolfield mad.

"It just makes me sick to my stomach to come to my hometown two years ago to start taking care of my parents to see all these empty buildings, the businesses going under, and then to hear what's been going on in the city mayor's office," Schoolfield said.

"We need to change the status quo in the city and find out how we can fix the situation," said Schoolfield, who also is president of the Bledsoe County Republican Women's Club. "Let's find out where the problem is."

Johnson also serves on the Bledsoe County Commission.

County Commission Chairman Craig Mercer said Wednesday that Johnson hasn't made his plans known regarding his county post. Mercer has not communicated with Johnson in some time and said Johnson hasn't attended a commission meeting since January.

"If he doesn't do a resignation letter, we're going to talk to him to see what's going on," Mercer said, noting that county officials can do little until Johnson's criminal case is disposed of in court.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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