Ex-Prestonsburg mayor charged with using city funds for his arena football team

Former Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin illegally used city money to support an arena football team in which he was an investor, a federal grand jury has charged.

The grand jury charged Fannin with one count of intentionally misapplying taxpayer money. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The indictment was issued Thursday but posted Friday on the federal court website.

Fannin was not arrested. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor requested a summons directing Fannin to appear in court.

The indictment charges that while Fannin was mayor in 2013, he also was part owner of a team called the Kentucky Drillers and played on the Pikeville-based team.

Fannin allegedly gave city money directly to the team, and also used city accounts to pay for rooms for team members at a state park.

Fannin also used vans owned by the city’s senior citizens program to take the Drillers to a game in Michigan, using city funds to pay city employees who drove, the indictment charged.

The total amount of city money spent to benefit the team was about $7,800, the indictment said.

The charges grew from a state audit the city council requested, which was released in December 2015 after Fannin had left office.

It identified a number of problems in addition to city money being spent on the football team, including a conflict of interest Fannin had on a land deal that then-Auditor Adam Edelen said netted $97,000 for Fannin.

The report said there also was a risk Fannin improperly received a Chevrolet Tahoe as a gift.

Investigators followed up on the audit. The indictment covers only the alleged spending for the football team.

The team no longer exists. Fannin could not be reached for comment.