Colorado Springs City Councilmember Charles Wingate has been charged with forgery and embezzlement for allegedly using a city business card to charge pizza deliveries to his home.
Wingate denies wrongdoing, and said he will be exonerated when the facts come out in trial.
The first-term councilmember allegedly charged several pizzas to a card belonging to a city utilities employee, and is charged with failing to return or account for a $190 cash advance he received to attend a utilities meeting in Texas.
If found guilty of the five felony and two misdemeanor charges, he could be sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.
Wingate characterized the charges as “crap” and said they are part of a scheme to discredit him and make him resign from the council.
District Attorney Jeanne Smith filed the charges following a police search of Wingate’s home. Several empty pizza boxes were recovered, and officials allege they were charged illegally to a card held by Nancy Schneider, a senior administrative specialist in the utilities department.
A police department representative said Wingate was identified through a photo lineup by pizza delivery drivers who said they delivered the pies to the councilmember’s home.
Wingate is due in court on August 7 for an advisory hearing. He said he would not resign.
Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace has previously called for Wingate’s resignation, saying he is an embarrassment to the council. Wingate was previously sued for bouncing checks and not paying for campaign expenses.
An unemployed stockbroker, Wingate’s home is also being foreclosed on.
In earlier interviews, Wingate said public officials are not immune to falling on hard times, and that given time he will pay his bills.