MONTICELLO, Ark. — Monticello’s mayor has been charged with fraudulently funneling funds from the city and soliciting unrepaid loans.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2cN4lVe ) reports that 27-year-old Mayor Zack Tucker was charged Friday with one count of tampering with public records and one count of abuse of power.

Tucker’s attorney, Hani Hashem, said his client hasn’t been accused of doing anything for personal gain.

Arkansas State Police say Tucker moved funds to cover Arkansas Forest Festival debts. Tucker is the chairman of the festival’s committee. Authorities said Tucker moved the funds after the authorization of a check filled out by Tucker was disputed by the person whose signature was on it. The dispute led to an unauthorized disbursement from a city account by Tucker.

Authorities also said Tucker opened a bank account for the Arkansas Forest Festival in February 2015 after writing a check from the account of another nonprofit he worked with, the Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition. Tucker is accused of using those funds, along with a $500 donation from Tucker himself to open the bank account.

Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition president Scott Kuttenkuler told state police that he did not authorize the check and that Tucker had filled out a blank check with Kuttenkuler’s signature already on it and written it out to the Arkansas Forest Festival.

Police say the funds were paid back in two checks, one of which was from the festival.

Tucker is also accused of soliciting cash that was never repaid.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com