State

Ex-mayor diverted Kentucky city’s money for his football team. But he gets probation.

Inspecting $100 bills through a magnifying glass.
Inspecting $100 bills through a magnifying glass.

Prestonsburg’s former mayor, Jerry Fannin, was sentenced to probation and a fine in connection with a case in which he was found guilty of using city funds to support his semi-professional football team.

Fannin appeared in U.S. District Court in Pikeville Thursday where U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell sentenced him to serve six months of probation, with home incarceration required, as well as a $2,000 fine and nearly $8,000 in restitution linked to the case.

Caldwell noted the seriousness of the charges in sentencing Fannin.

“This is a serious crime, one that strikes at the heart of the democratic process,” she said, adding it erodes the public’s confidence in government.

According to the plea agreement filed earlier this year in the case, in 2013, Fannin, while serving as mayor of Prestonsburg was also a player and part owner of the Kentucky Drillers, which was headquartered in Pikeville.

During that time, the agreement said, Fannin pressured or directed city employees to “expend funds from bank accounts under their control in the form of donations or purchases of advertisements to help fund the Kentucky Drillers during their 2013 season.”

“(Fannin) also directed that a city-owned bus be used to transport the Drillers to away games,” the agreement said. “He futher directed that the city pay money to the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park under the false pretense that it was needed to make certain repairs, when, in fact, it was used to provide lodging for the Drillers.”

The total value of the city funds and resources diverted to the team in 2013 exceeded $5,000, the agreement said.

As a result, according to the agreement, Fannin faced a possible maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000.

Fannin’s attorney, Ned Pillersdorf, argued that, because of health problems, Fannin should receive a lenient sentence which did not involve him being in custody.

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