published Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Ex-Pikeville, Tenn., mayor pleads guilty to misconduct

Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson
Photo by Ben Benton /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Former Pikeville, Tenn., Mayor Greg Johnson entered a guilty plea this week in Bledsoe County Circuit Court to charges stemming from his arrest last July on theft and official misconduct charges.

Johnson pleaded guilty to two of the four counts he was charged with, according to court officials.

Circuit Court records show Johnson pleaded guilty on Monday before Circuit Court Judge Buddy Perry to one count of official misconduct and one count of theft of property over $10,000.

There was no indication on the plea form when Johnson's sentencing date is set, but court officials said it would be sometime in September.

Johnson was charged in July 2012 with four counts of official misconduct and theft in excess of $60,000 in connection with accusations he spent as much as $250,000 in taxpayer money for his personal gain.

According to a state comptroller's office report, Johnson was accused of spending $15,900 in city funds to buy a 2008 Honda Element that never was titled to the town and instead was given to a family member for personal use.

He also was accused of purchasing 10 used vehicles that cost the town $109,900. Four or more of the vehicles were damaged severely and apparently had no purpose, while Johnson admitted to using one of the vehicles to take a trip to Miami, the report said.

A third misconduct count accused Johnson of receiving more than $130,000 in reimbursement claims for health insurance premiums that he never paid, and that he had the city pay him an unauthorized "vehicle allowance" of $37,000, according to the report.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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