Dayton Mayor Tim McNeil has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors involving mismanagement of committee funds for the Hennepin County suburb's annual festival.
"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," read an announcement McNeil made Thursday in a Facebook post.
McNeil also posted a statement from his lawyer, John Conard, who characterized the pleas as admissions of "technical violations of charitable registration laws" involving McNeil's role in managing the Dayton Heritage Day festival.
Neither McNeil nor Conard returned messages for comment Sunday.
The mayor will be required to return the festival money he misused, which will go to the Lions Club now running the Heritage Day parade, according to the Facebook posting.
He also will serve 10 days of home electronic monitoring and will be on probation for two years. His mayoral term expires this year, and he said on his Facebook page that he hoped "to pass on the responsibilities of Dayton's mayor to a successor and to continue as a member of our city council."
According to charges in the case filed in February 2019, McNeil was accused of embezzling more than $13,000 from the citizens' committee that ran the festival.
In the criminal complaint, McNeil was charged with felony theft by swindle for allegedly taking money out of the festival's checking account and depositing it into his personal account.
No city funds were involved in the festival account. But an examination of the records for the Heritage Day account and McNeil's personal bank account showed that, starting in October 2015, the mayor regularly withdrew money from the festival account and deposited the money into his own account, according to the complaint.
The complaint said McNeil had paid back $4,500 but remained responsible for more than $8,710 in missing money.
In the Facebook postings, Conard acknowledged it was against the law for McNeil to compensate himself. McNeil agreed but characterized the mistake as a failure to file "the required paperwork."
"I continue to believe that those original charges were unfounded and the product of a political rather than a legal judgment," McNeil wrote in his statement.
According to the statement from Conard, McNeil has not been convicted of fraud or dishonesty and "considers himself vindicated."
McNeil was elected to the City Council in 2006 and first elected mayor in 2012.