At the Binghamton City Court Monday morning, former Broome County Executive Debbie Preston pleaded guilty to charges of “official misconduct.”
Preston was accused of getting credit card in her name and in the Town of Conklin’s name back when she was town supervisor. Then, she bought stuff for herself and continued to do so even after she was told not to, racking up a balance of over $20,000.
She could’ve gotten jail time. Instead, she paid a $1,000 fine. The prosecutor, Joseph Fazzary, district attorney in Schuyler County, said he couldn’t find evidence she’d tried to steal anything or falsify documents.
“I think the Schuyler County District attorney was very fair and that’s what I wanted,” Preston told the judge. “I wanted him to really investigate it and he did. I’m here today, pleading guilty also because, back when this came out, which I know was very political, I never denied it. So, why would I plead not guilty anyway?”
Back in October, Preston held a press conference saying she had used a credit card under the Town of Conklin’s name for personal purchases. She also sent a letter to the state comptroller, asking him to do an audit of the credit card.
Both Fazzary and Preston’s lawyer said they don’t know why she got the credit card in the first place. However, Fazzary did say she did not use the credit card to avoid paying taxes.
“She didn’t even get a benefit for having a municipality that’s paying on it, because [Conklin] never paid on it,” said Fazzary. “She paid all the taxes and all the insurance.”
As a public official, Fazzary said, she was supposed to be better than everyone else, and she wasn’t.
Preston spoke to reporters outside the building, saying, “I want to be left alone and live my life, okay?”