Oakland mayor found guilty, removed from office

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

SOMERVILLE, TN (WMC-TV) - Less than a week before voters decide who should be the mayor of Oakland, the incumbent Bill Mullins lost his office Friday in a court of law.

Mullins was convicted on three counts of official misconduct after using his private transmission repair shop to work on city issued vehicles, then failing to document a $2000 payment.

"This man gave his heart and soul to the community, and now they've put him on trial because he did some transmission work," said Mullins' attorney, Henry Klein.

But prosecutors said Mullins intentionally hid some of his profits.

"Is it money laundering? is it transmission laundering?  In any event it's an effort clearly to keep it from the public," prosecutor Walter Freeland said.

Klein argued the $2000 payment was a small amount compared to what Mullins has done pro bono.

"Transmission work or anything," he said. "Garbage truck needed fixing, he'd do it and never charge for it."

Oakland Alderman Maurice Wombough said public officials should set a good example.

"When you're voted into office, and you have the public trust to consider, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard," Wombough said.

Jurors agreed. After the verdict was reached, Mullins refused to comment on the case. 

By law Mullins was immediately suspended without pay. He was also ordered to vacate the mayor's office and turn in the city vehicle he drove to and from his trial by the end of the day.

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