The mayor of Greenbrier, Tenn., was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing $60,000 from the Toys For Tots charity fund.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) took Mayor Billy Wilson into custody at city hall.
“It was so quick,” City Superintendent Tommy Maitland told The Tennessean. “We didn’t have time to process it. They just came in and took him. It was over in a matter of minutes.”
Wilson was charged with official misconduct, after the TBI investigation found he used charity funds for his personal gain.
“Money was beginning to be donated for this year’s Toys for Tots program and we wanted to let people know the money was being stolen and to not send money to Wilson’s charity this year,” TBI spokesperson Kristen Helm said on Monday.
Toys for Tots is a public charity that distributes toys for needy children and helps low-income families pay utility bills. It is not affiliated with the non-profit Toys for Tots run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, which collects new toys for needy children.
Wilson managed the GreenRidge Toys for Tots program, which he helped start. He’s also the fire chief in Greenbrier, which has a population of 6,500.
TBI is now investigating where Wilson also misused city funds.
“We ask that everyone withhold judgment until the case has been concluded and all the facts are out,” Wilson’s attorney Jeff Walker told The Tennessean.
Wilson’s office did not discuss the arrest.
“We’ve been trying to do damage control and move on,” Maitland said. “There are measures in place for us to carry on city business as usual in an event such as this one.”