Mayor Maurice Howard spoke with WCBI last night shortly after bonding out of the Monroe County Jail on embezzlement charges.
It's the latest controversy in Aberdeen since aldermen questioned whether or not the mayor should be allowed to carry his gun to meetings.
Mayor maurice howard spoke with us last night shortly after bonding out of the monroe county jail on embezzlement charges// it's the latest controversy in aberdeen since aldermen questioned whether or not the mayor should be allowed to carry his gun to meetings// our scott martin joins us live in aberdeen with more from the mayor and the state auditor on the investigation.
As you said earlier, howard faces five charges of embezzlement.
He told us last night he's stunned at the charges brought against him.
The charges stem from questions where some money went in 2016 and 2017.
Howard tells us, this isn't the first time he has been questioned about it.
Mayor maurice howard has one message he's spreading to folks in aberdeen.
"the mayor is not, nor has every been a thief."
However, an investigation by the state auditor's office alleges howard deposited city funds into his personal bank account.
The allegations stem from trips in 2016 and 2017, in which howard says board of alderman tried to address then.
"the board tried to impeach me using these same alleged offenses.
I was aware of them in 2017 but i wasn't aware there was still anything going on with the alleged offenses.
" an investigation by the state auditors office alleges otherwise.
State auditor shad white accuses howard of going to board members to get money for trips that he didn't actually go to in an effort to pocket the money.
"he found a way by doing that over and over again, he found a way to give himself a nice little second pay check."
White also alleges howard used his official vehicle for personal business.
Back in april of 2018, howard's vehicle was found 140 miles away in linden, alabama that raised red flags.
This is what howard had to say about that in an april interview... old sound...."i was there doing a housing development project for the city of aberdeen is under housed band we need some new subdivisions in aberdeen and there is a company that's looking at doing some new subdivisions for the city of aberdeen and that's who i was there meeting with.
I was also going to look at other subdivisions in which they have developed" that investigation was handed over to the state auditors office.
As far as trips go, howard says he has receipts showing when and where he was.
He claims the board of alderman have a vendetta against him.
"this is what they want.they want maurice vernon howard to quit, but i'm not quitter.
I never will.
I'm still here.
I'm still they mayor.
Wcbi reached out to every alderman.
They declined to comment on the matter.
In the meantime, howard says he'll fight for his innocence.
"the line has been drawn.
Howard was released on a 10- thousand dollar bond.