Hearing for Virgin Mayor is Postponed

Hearing for Virgin Mayor is Postponed

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- The preliminary hearing scheduled in St. George Monday for Virgin Mayor Jay Lee, who is charged with misuse of public funds, was postponed when his attorney said a resolution tentatively has been reached.

Fifth District Judge James Shumate then scheduled a hearing for Thursday, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"I think we have it resolved," defense attorney David Terry said. "I can't say anything more."

Lee and former town clerk Stacy Noelle Higbee were charged in May with one count each of misuse of public funds involving sums greater than $5,000. The preliminary hearing for Higbee, who has resigned, is scheduled for next month.

Since being charged, Lee has ignored requests to step aside as mayor. His term expires in 2006.

If he is convicted or pleads guilty to a felony, he will automatically forfeit his seat.

In a public meeting in January, Gerry Buckner of the auditing firm Hafen, Buckner, Everett & Graff said an audit had found overspending in two budgets, money not moved into proper accounts and an employee that charged personal items to the town, including gasoline for travel.

The same employee also received wages five months in advance and by June 2002 had received $6,000 in advance pay.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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