Commissioner faces charges

Friday, November 18, 2005

MOBERLY, Mo. -- A Randolph County official has been charged with stealing money from a Cub Scout pack and a community improvement organization. Lowell "Chuck" Bankhead, who is both a Randolph County commissioner and mayor of Higbee, turned himself in Thursday to authorities after being charged with two counts of stealing and a misdemeanor campaign finance violation by Attorney General Jay Nixon's office.

Bankhead, 33, a Democrat, is accused as treasurer of the Higbee Community Betterment Association of writing checks worth $4,205 from the association's account and depositing them in his personal account between July 12, 2004, and Feb. 14, 2005.

He also is accused of writing $1,150 in checks on the Cub Scout Pack No. 80 bank account and depositing them into his personal account between March 5, 2004, and March 4, 2005. In one case, Nixon's office claims, Bankhead deposited a Cub Scout check into the Higbee Community Betterment account to try to replace money he had taken from that organization.

Bankhead declined to comment Thursday to the Moberly Monitor-Index. Calls by The Associated Press were not answered.

The misdemeanor charge against Bankhead stems from his county commissioner campaign. It alleges he did not deposit all campaign contributions in his campaign account, commingled campaign and personal funds and made campaign expenditures from outside his campaign account.

The felony stealing charges are punishable by up to seven years in prison a $5,000 fine each. The misdemeanor campaign finance charge is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Bankhead was released on $10,000 bond, Nixon's office said. Arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Randolph County Circuit Court.

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