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Georgia mayor convicted over damage to excavator, resigns

October 1, 2021 GMT

NASHVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A south Georgia mayor has been convicted of theft and property damage after he used an excavator without permission last year and damaged it.

Local news outlets report Taylor Scarbrough, 57, of Nashville was convicted Wednesday of theft by conversion, theft by deception and criminal damage to property in the second degree, court records show. He was acquitted of theft of services.

A judge Thursday sentenced Scarbrough to six months in jail, to be followed by another nine-and-a-half years on probation, according to court records.

Gov. Brian Kemp had earlier suspended Scarbrough from the Nashville mayor’s post and Scarbrough resigned before he was sentenced.

District Attorney Chase Studstill said Scarbrough will also have to complete 200 hours of community service. A judge will hold a hearing later this month on forcing Scarbrough to pay restitution for the damage.

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Mayor Pro Tem John Clayton, who has been serving as acting mayor, told The Valdosta Daily Times the Nashville City Council will meet next week to consider a special election. Scarbrough’s term would have run through December 2023.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Scarbrough used James Hobbs’ excavator without permission in August 2020 and caused “significant damage” to the machine. Video showed some parts of the excavator were heavily dented. Hobbs valued the damage at $12,000.

Hobbs said he was working for Scarbrough and left his excavator on the mayor’s land overnight. Hobbs said Scarbrough did not have permission to use the equipment.

Scarborough disputed Hobbs, saying he did have permission. He admitted to damaging the machine, but said Hobbs did not give him enough time to file an insurance claim to pay for the damage.