Former mayor of south Georgia city sentenced in theft case

NASHVILLE, Ga. — The former mayor of a south Georgia city was sentenced to six months in jail after he used an excavator without permission and damaged it, authorities said.

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Taylor Scarbrough, 57, of Nashville, was convicted Wednesday of theft by conversion, theft by deception and criminal damage to property in the second degree, the Valdosta Daily Times reported, citing court records. He was acquitted of theft of services, the newspaper reported.

On Thursday, Scarbrough was sentenced to six months in jail, to be followed by nine-and-a-half years on probation, WALB reported.

Scarbrough had been suspended as Nashville’s mayor by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, the Daily Times reported. Scarbrough resigned as mayor before Thursday’s sentencing, the newspaper reported.

Scarbrough’s conviction and sentencing stemmed from an Aug. 17, 2020, incident, according to a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Deputies from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office went to Scarbrough’s home after James Hobbs alleged that the mayor had taken and used Hobbs’ excavator without permission and had caused significant damage to the machinery, the news release stated.

Hobbs said he was working for Scarbrough and left his excavator on the mayor’s land overnight, according to The Associated Press.

Three days later, the GBI’s Douglas Regional Office received a request from the sheriff’s office to conduct an investigation regarding the allegation of property damage by a public official, the Daily Times reported.

After Scarbrough was indicted on Feb. 1, 2021, Kemp appointed a commission to investigate the charges, WALB reported. On March 16, 2021, the commission found that Scarbrough’s indictment “does relate to and does adversely affect the administration of the office of mayor and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby; and recommended that Taylor Scarbrough be suspended from office,” the television station reported.

Mayor Pro Tem John Clayton, who has been serving as acting mayor, told the Daily Times that the Nashville City Council will meet next week to consider a special election. Scarbrough’s term would have run through December 2023, the newspaper reported.