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Alabama mayor resigns, pleads guilty to using inmates, city employees for private labor

The mayor of a small city in Alabama has resigned and pleaded guilty to 15 misdemeanor counts of using city employees and inmates to perform private work for him while they were working or in custody.

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, 60, on Tuesday entered the plea to use of office for personal gain, agreed to resign and publicly apologized.

“I am truly sorry for the harm and inconvenience brought about by this,” Hanceville wrote in his apology. “I never wanted to bring any negativity to Hanceville. I love Hanceville and the people of Hanceville. I would never do anything to intentionally harm the city. Again, I am truly sorry.”

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Since 2008, Nail has served as mayor in the city which lies between the cities of Birmingham and Huntsville and has a population of about 3,200.

Cullman County District Attorney Champ Crocker announced the multi-count indictment against Nail last month. The initial charges were felony crimes but reduced to misdemeanors in the plea deal.

The crimes happened between Sept. 30, 2019, and Sept. 29, 2023, court records show.

According to the indictment, Nail routinely solicited former Police Chief Bob Long to perform work at Nail’s home while the chief was on duty, and he had another employee, Joshua Howell, drive to Georgia in a city vehicle while on duty to perform work on a trailer owned by Nail and his wife.

Nail also used three former jail inmates to do work at his home while they were in custody, the indictment alleges.

As part of the plea, Crocker said Nail was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution, a $2,500 fine, perform 120 hours of community service and will be on probation for 15 years, which prohibits working for any public or governmental entity during probation, al.com reported.

“The trust between the people and their government must remain strong. Mr. Nail pleaded guilty, admitted to his misconduct, and also apologized to the citizens of Hanceville for his actions,’’ Crocker said. “I believe this swift resolution is balanced and shows both consideration for admitting guilt and that elected officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”

Nail was represented by attorneys Michael Whisonant and Richard Jaffe, who said they were pleased with the resolution of the case.

“Mayor Nail cares deeply for the citizens Hanceville, and has given most of his adult life to the service of the citizens of Cullman County,” according to a statement from the lawyers. “He also greatly appreciates all the people that have reached out and supported him through this difficult process, and is happy this is behind him.”

   

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