Mayor Longo says he's not guilty & running for re-election - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mayor Longo says he's not guilty & running for re-election

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo was polite and pleasant to the media as he and his attorney walked up to the Hancock County courthouse Thursday morning.

"How y'all doing?" asked an upbeat Longo.

When asked how he would plea, Longo replied, "Not guilty, of course."

Inside the courtroom, his attorney, Donald Rafferty, did most of the talking during the mayor's arraignment on embezzlement charges.

The State Auditor's Office claims Longo used a city issued gasoline charge card to purchase more than $1,100 worth of fuel for his personal vehicle.

State investigators say the mayor illegally used the city's Fuelman card for nearly a year, from September 2008 to August 2009.

"It appears to us this is all politically motivated, it's character assassination and, frankly, it's just people who want to take a shot at the mayor," Rafferty said.

Mayor Longo echoed his words.

"In my travels around the Gulf Coast area since the storm, I have tried to persuade people from using post-Katrina events as political fodder. And that's what's going on here," Longo said. "You know, there's a lot of bricks been thrown, especially at ground zero. I wish they'd throw the bricks in a positive manner to help us rebuild the city."

The mayor is up for re-election in November. When asked if he would run for a fourth term, depending on the outcome of his legal troubles, he replied, "Positively."

The mayor has been free on a $10,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois set a trial date of June 21 for Mayor Longo.

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