Southaven Mayor Greg Davis indicted - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis indicted

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HERNANDO, Miss. (FOX13) -

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis has been indicted on three counts involving alleged misuse of tax money by a Mississippi Grand Jury in DeSoto County. 

Davis was indicted on one count each of embezzlement, false pretense and making fraudulent statements.

MORE: Southaven Mayor Greg Davis archive

Defense attorney Steve Farese said his client will be entering a plea of not guilty on all three felony charges that he is facing.

Mayor Davis was booked in the DeSoto County jail on a $3,500 bond, which he posted after being processed.

"Again, our country has taken a turn that all there has to be is allegations and the public feels like someone is guilty," Farese said. "We have had a dumbing down of our civics, and a dumbing down of our constitutional knowledge and I feel that to be a shame."

The four-term Republican mayor has been under state and federal investigation for the last year.  He has been accused of using city funds for his personal use.

County District Attorney John Champion said Mayor Davis defrauded the city by buying a leased city vehicle, for his personal use without board approval. The city lost an estimated $15,000.

"We will have to see what the prosecutor has to say, but it seems to me on its face that when a vehicle came off of the lease he made a purchase of that personally, and they are saying that is some type of violation," Farese said.

The indictment also points out Mayor Davis also double-dipped, by pumping free city gas into his personal vehicle while submitting invoices  for reimbursement.

"Well, the gas pretty much speaks for itself," Farese said. "They are claiming that he put gas in his personal vehicle, and we will have to see what the underlying basis of that claim is."

Davis is also accused of receiving a $1,000 check from the city to pay his bulldog political action committee, but  he never paid it.

District Attorney Champion said the investigation is by no means over.

"I would probably call this the tip of the iceberg," he said. "There are many, many more things that are going to be looked at and some of it may be more criminal some maybe not. We're actively investigating other people as well. When I look at what he brought on himself, it's my responsibility, it's the investigators responsibility, us attorney responsibility when we have something in front of us to take forward, whether people want to call it political or not. People are going to call it whatever they want to call it."

Champion would not reveal the names of anyone else they're investigating.

Davis, 46, has been under scrutiny since November 2011 when the Mississippi Auditor's office told him to repay $170,000. The amount was later reduced to $158,000.

He still owes $70,000 that the auditor is seeking to recover by garnishing his paycheck and through a lawsuit.

A Board of Alderman meeting is planned for Tuesday evening in Southaven, but it is unclear if the mayor will be in attendance.

It appears that the mayor will not be heading up the board meetings for a while, saying that it is too much of a distraction. Farese said the mayor is shocked and dismayed by the indictments, but feels that he can mount a strong defense.

If found guilty, Mayor Davis could face 35 years in jail.

"Well, most felonies do, you know, carry up to five years," Farese said. "One carries up to 10 years and another carries up to 20 years and those are maximum sentences. For somebody like Mr. Davis, I would not expect him to be looking at a anytime close to the maximums."

Farese said his client is not taking the charges lightly.

"This will weigh heavily on him during the holiday," the defense attorney added.


FOX13 News reporters Bofta Yimam in Hernando and Tom Dees in Ashland contributed to this report.

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