Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker was charged Friday with one count of public record tampering and one count of abuse of office.
Public record tampering is a Class D felony, punishable by a maximum six-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000. Abuse of office is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 90 days and fine of $1,000.
According to a criminal information filed Friday by 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen, Tucker is alleged to have knowingly made a false entry in a public record with the purpose to impair the verity of that record. He is also alleged to have, with the purpose of benefiting another person in a pecuniary fashion, committed an unauthorized act purporting to be an act of his office.
A summons was issued ordering Tucker to appear in Drew County Circuit Court on October 17 at 9 a.m.
Last month, the staff of the Economic Development Fund of Monticello (EDFM), received information that led to a review of an account set up for the local forestry festival. During that review, the EDFM discovered a deposit with no documentation to show the source of the funds. After further review, it was discovered that the source of those funds was the Monticello Advertising and Promotion Commission and the funds were paid using an invoice that appeared to be from the Economic Development Fund of Monticello, according to information in a statement issued last month by the EDFM.
On April 3, 2015, a check for $22,500 from the City of Monticello Advertising & Promotion Commission Fund was made payable to the Economic Development Fund of Monticello. The check bears what appears to be Mayor Tucker’s signature and endorsed on the reverse side by Mayor Tucker.
An invoice was submitted to the City of Monticello for $22,500 for half of the cost of engineering fees for a proposed convention center. The invoice appears to have been submitted to the city by the EDFM. However, the EDFM did not approve, issue or authorize the invoice, according to the EDFM statement.
Though the name of the forestry festival account is EDFM dba Arkansas Forest Festival, no EDFM staff or board members are authorized signators on forestry festival account, according to the EDFM.
EDFM executive director Nita McDaniel on August 15, 2016 requested an investigation by the Arkansas Office of Legislative Audit and 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen. All documents pertaining to the EDFM dba Arkansas Forest Festival account were submitted to both Deen and state Legislative Office to aid in their investigation.
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