Wise County

Embezzlement charges against former town manager

Embezzlement Charges Against Former Town Manager

COEBURN, Va. - A Wise County, Virginia grand jury has presented a 130-count indictment against former Coeburn town manager Loretta Mays.

The charges center around misappropriation of money from the Lays Hardware for the Performing Arts Center.

The counts listed in the indictment against Mays are 130 counts of embezzlement, uttering and forgery.

The Lays Hardware building was bought by the town in 2000 and operated as a music and arts venue. It's a partner on Virginia's Crooked Road and a non-profit organization.

Coeburn town mayor Jess Powers says the allegations of misuse of funds adds up to around $30,000, which is a lot for the center to absorb. "They charge $5 per person to get into a venues on Friday nights. [There are bands] and also we sell hot dogs and hamburgers at the Lays. I work there as a volunteer and that's a lot of money to be lost for that small venue," the mayor said.

Since the building was renovated, it's given downtown a boost. "On Friday night in Coeburn before this got started, there was nothing here. When I was a boy here in the 1960s there was something to do," longtime citizen Jimmy Large says.

But those involved with the center remain positive despite the charges against Mays. "I think the Lays building and a lot of venues around will continue no matter what happens. It's the people behind it that's going to support it. I don't think anything major is going to hurt anything," longtime volunteer Jack Hurley said.

Mays still has a court date pending.

For more information about Lays Hardware click here.

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