Charges against Fulton, Illinois mayor dismissed
FULTON, Illinois — Criminal charges that were filed against Fulton, Illinois mayor Larry Russell have been dismissed.
Mayor Russell had been accused of writing a check to himself for $764 intended for personal use, according to previous reports. He was hit with felony charges of theft and official misconduct, court records show.
After a preliminary hearing on Monday, October 17, 2016, court records show that the charges were dismissed. It was found that “there was no probable cause to sustain any criminal charges against the Fulton Mayor,” read a statement from Mertes & Mertes, P.C., Attorneys at Law.
The situation arose in April 2016 from confusion about whether Mayor Russell was entitled to get a refund from unused boat slip rental fees from the City of Fulton Marina, according to the attorney’s statement. Mayor Russell thought he was supposed to get a refund, but the Harbor Master disagreed.
The statement indicated that Mayor Russell was given a refund by the Fulton City Administrator. Days later Mayor Russell repaid the refund to the Marina and issued an appeal with the Marina’s board.
When the court heard the case Judge Michael R. Albert ruled in favor of Russell stating that “this is totally a civil case.”
“These criminal charges should never have been filed,” said Attorney James Mertes, the lawyer representing Mayor Russell in the case.
Mayor Russell said that the dispute shook him, but he still believes in the court system, according to the attorney’s statement.
“I admit that the filing of these charges against me briefly rattled my faith in the justice system,” Russell Said. But after the court reviewed and ruled on his case, he said his faith has been “fully restored…”