Despite a call for his resignation by two City Council members, the beleaguered mayor of Crosby, Minn., says he has no plans to quit.
James Hunter, who was elected mayor of the small northern Minnesota town of 2,400 residents in November but now faces charges of swindling his alleged lover’s husband in a business deal, said last week that he believes the criminal charges are part of a vindictive act by people holding grudges against him.
“They’ve essentially just destroyed my life,” Hunter said in an interview. “Basically, I can’t even hardly describe it. They’ve taken all my assets.”
Hunter pointed to several accomplishments during his brief time in office and said he believes he’s a good fit for the job. Now, he said, he can’t even attend City Council meetings because of an order of protection against him.
Hunter, 68, and 46-year-old Candice McCartan, both were charged last month with theft by swindle in an alleged scheme to con McCartan’s husband, Tom, out of nearly $90,000. Hunter also faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, fraud and receiving stolen property.
City Council Members Paul Heglund and Ron Prushek both have called for Hunter’s resignation.
Hunter owns several businesses in Crosby, including the “Buy, Sell, Trade” convenience store on Main Street.
Hunter has had “issues” with the Crosby police, he said. Hunter’s swearing-in as mayor was delayed for two days after he told City Council members that he didn’t trust the Crosby police to perform a background check on him as required by city law. In the end, the Crosby police did perform the check, and Hunter was sworn in.
Hunter’s attorney, Ed Shaw, said Hunter “has been accused of serious crimes based on very little evidence.” Shaw denied that Candice McCartan and Hunter were lovers and said the assault charge was bogus because Hunter was acting in self-defense. He also said Hunter did not steal from Tom McCartan “or from anybody else.”
When police searched Hunter’s home, business and vehicles, they found more than $40,000 in cash and 54 guns, including at least one that had been reported stolen. Shaw said it wasn’t surprising that someone in the trading business might unwittingly come across a gun that had been stolen long ago.
“Mr. Hunter has suffered serious damage to his personal and business reputation,” Shaw said. “Mr. Hunter and I look forward to the truth coming out in this matter and for these accusations to be proven false.”