Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker resigned Tuesday morning and is expected to plead guilty on March 6 to a felony or a misdemeanor.
Former Monticello Mayor David Anderson will serve as interim mayor until a special mayoral election in May.
Tucker was charged in September with tampering with a public record, a felony punishable by a maximum six-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000. He was also charged with abuse of office, a misdemeanor punishable by a 90 days in jail and fine of $1,000.
Tucker has agreed to accept a plea offer from the State which has two options.
If he makes full and immediate restitution of $22,500 to the city and resigns from office, he will be allowed to plead guilty to abuse of office (the misdemeanor) because there will be no need for an extended suspended sentence on the felony to enforce the repayment.
If he cannot make full and immediate restitution, he will be required to plead guilty to the felony.
Regardless of which offense he pleads guilty to on March 6, he will not be allowed to hold public office in Arkansas because tampering with a public record and abuse of office are both offenses that involve deceit or dishonesty.
Through his Monticello attorney, Hani Hashem, Tucker filed a motion Tuesday morning asking Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson to extend the plea deadline until Tucker can determine whether he can come up with the full amount of restitution or will have to make payments.
According to the motion, Tucker has more than half of the money for the restitution and a family member has agreed to co-sign a loan for the balance. The application for the loan has been made and Tucker is waiting to hear if the bank will loan the money.
Gibson granted the motion and extended the deadline until March 6.
The charges against Tucker stem from a $22,500 check written in April 2015.
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 Tucker’s signature and endorsed on the reverse side by Tucker.
Also, an invoice was submitted to the City of Monticello for $22,500 purportedly 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.
The money went to an entertainment company to pay for the cost of entertainment at the local forestry festival. Neither the city council nor the A&P Commission authorized the expenditure.