Hodgenville mayor, city clerk arraigned for fraudulent behavior - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Hodgenville mayor, city clerk arraigned for fraudulent behavior

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Madonna Hornback and Terry Cruse leave the courtroom after their arraignments on January 14. Madonna Hornback and Terry Cruse leave the courtroom after their arraignments on January 14.

HODGENVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A pair of city leaders found themselves on the wrong side of the law Tuesday after accusations they stole from the very city they had been elected to serve.

Together, Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse and City Clerk Madonna Hornback faced more than 60 combined charges as they appeared for arraignment Tuesday in LaRue County Circuit Court. With his attorney, Ronald Mathers squarely at his side, Mayor Cruse denied any guilt.

"The court will enter a plea of not guilty to all charges," noted LaRue Circuit Court Judge Charles Simms.

According to the LaRue County Circuit Clerk's office, Cruse had been indicted in December 2013 on nine counts of abuse of the public trust, one count of theft by unlawful taking, two counts of forgery in the second degree, in addition to two counts of campaign contribution restrictions and expenditure limits.

Hornback appeared before the judge next. Summoned to court to face more than 50 charges, the city clerk entered a not guilty plea to 54 counts of abuse of the public trust and one count of theft by unlawful taking.

The pair of Hodgenville city leaders are accused of fraudulent behavior.

"The two of them were acting in conjunction to be fraudulent on their mileage logs and that sort of thing," began Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Whitney Meredith. "So, we would argue that it is relevant and we could argue that in front of the court before trial on whether or not that would be admissible."

In June 2013, Kentucky state troopers raided Cruse's office, seizing a variety of documents.

"We feel like anything seized from the search warrant that was obtained out of the Mayor's office, including receipts, mileage logs, diaries, as far as how expenses were logged and any sort of correspondence between him and the city clerk--we feel like that will be relevant," said Meredith. "We will argue for that to be admissible during trial."

In court Tuesday, Cruse and Hornback shared the same attorney, something Judge Simms openly discouraged.

"There could be a conflict of interest as to what's in the best interests of one client as opposed to the other," said Judge Simms. "It would be my advice in this type case that you each have separate counsel, but that's the decision you all have to make."

After electing to keep the same attorney, the morning arraignment wrapped up with Judge Simms setting future court appearances set.

Following the proceedings, Cruse and Hornback bolted from the courthouse together.

"Just a sad situation," said Mayor Cruse. "You know, it didn't have to be like this."

In camera hearings are scheduled for both Cruse and Hornback on February 3 at 10 a.m. Pre-trials and tentative trial dates for the pair are also scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 30 and June 9, respectively.

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