Lindsay city councilman arrested for embezzlement

Police say they arrested Lindsay City Councilman Steve Mecum at his home for felony embezzlement on Monday night.
February 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A South Valley city councilman is facing felony charges.

Police say they arrested Lindsay City Councilman Steve Mecum at his home for felony embezzlement on Monday night.

Mecum didn't smile in a mug shot photo taken at the Lindsay Police Department. He spent the night at the Tulare County Main Jail after he was arrested at his home on North Maple Street in Lindsay.

Police say after numerous attempts, he refused to hand over property that didn't belong to him. Officers say the rightful owner of the property -- a family member who was tired of battling with Mecum -- decided to press charges.

Authorities say the two family members were in constant dispute, with Lindsay police responding to Mecum's home seven times since Dec. 30.

"The crime being investigated is not the theft of a public fund or a piece of property," said Lindsay Police Chief Rich Wilkinson.

The property Mecum had was a car valued at over $950. The councilman called his arrest ridiculous, saying, "I dispute the charges. I paid for the car in full. I didn't embezzle anything."

He has since hired an attorney to represent him in the case.

Mecum has a history of being at odds with the city of Lindsay. He accused the former city manager of misusing taxpayer money. He then ran for and won a city council seat more than a year ago.

As for whether Mecum's job as a correctional officer in Corcoran, or his seat on the city council is secure, Lindsay Police Chief and City Manager Rich Wilkinson says he will remain on the city council, but the city attorney is looking into what the city's procedures are when a council member is facing a criminal conviction.

"It's still serious in nature that it could jeopardize his seat on the council," said Wilkinson.

The Lindsay Police Department is submitting the case to the district attorney's office, which will make the final determination on what, if any, charges Mecum will face.


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