Dayton Mayor Tim McNeil has pleaded guilty in the case against him involving missing money from the Dayton Heritage Day Committee account. In February 2019, the Hennepin County Attorney said that the charges against McNeil included embezzling more than $5,000 from the committee’s funds.
McNeil entered into a new guilty plea July 2. He originally pleaded not guilty in April 2019 to the charge of theft by swindle.
In a statement by McNeil on his Mayor of Dayton Facebook page July 2, he said, “Today, I entered a guilty plea to two misdemeanors related to my role in managing the Dayton Heritage Days festival and the Dayton Historical Society. My decision to do so brings to a close a difficult and unwelcome chapter in my life that began more than a year ago when the Hennepin County Attorney launched a prosecution of me.”
According to McNeil’s lawyer John Conard, McNeil pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts that were the result of technical violations of charitable registration laws.
Although staff, including of the charitable entities was regularly paid, including McNeil, the charitable organization was never registered with the Attorney General. Conard said that as a result, it was against the law when McNeil compensated himself.
“The original claim of fraud was entirely improper, and ultimately the Hennepin County Attorney agreed in writing, in the plea agreement, that the conduct resulting in a plea (and conviction) involved no deceit or false statement,” Conard said.
McNeil stated, “I would like to apologize to the residents of Dayton for the pain and suffering my negligence has caused – and particularly to my friends and family who have endured the past 18 months through no fault of their own.”
Conard said McNeil’s sentence will require him to return the compensation paid to himself to the Dayton Lions Club, which will now be in charge of the Heritage Days Parade. He will serve 10 days of home electronic monitoring and will be on probation for two years.
McNeil said he believed the sentence imposed was fair. Please check back on this website or in next week’s paper for any new information.