By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Princeville Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates' lawyer Joe Hester pled "not guilty" on her behalf and asked for another continuance for his client Tuesday in Edgecombe County Superior Court. Judge Toby Fitch granted Hester's motion and reset Everette-Oates' new trial date to March 10.
Everette-Oates is facing 17 counts of embezzlement by a public official. She is accused of making $5,634 in unauthorized charges on a town credit card between August 2010 and January 2012. A state auditor's report dated April 2013 states that receipts for the charges were not found.
The mayor has said she is not guilty and contends the receipts were at the town hall before the Local Government Commission (LGC) took over the town's finances on July 31, 2012 because of the town's poor fiscal condition. Everette-Oates has openly accused the LGC of removing the receipts in an attempt to "frame" her.
According to the report receipts that are missing includes trips to 11 hotels, ($1,146) 95 gas stations visits ($4,726) and 81 restaurants ($4,006). In most cases, on the same day that a charge was made at an eatery, one was also made at a gas station.
Everette-Oates has said she is innocent of all charges. She said the majority of the trips were made to discuss economic development for the town.
The LGC and the mayor have been at odds since the takeover, with Everette-Oates fighting against its happening.
Her first appearance in court was on Aug.6 when she was officially charged and her second on Oct. 1, when Tuesday's court date was ordered.
Everette-Oates is currently serving a second term which will come to an end on Dec. 16 when the newly elected board will be sworn in. She will be replaced by Mayor-elect Bobbie Jones. Jones defeated Everette-Oates who came in second place, by a landslide (376-92). Milton Bullock and Theresa Williams also ran for the seat.