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Texas mayor resigns following accusations that she misused city funds to see Michelle Obama

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The mayor and mayor pro tempore had the city reimburse them for their tickets

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Mayor Lyndia Thomas and Mayor Pro Tem Beckie Hayes of Forest Hill, Texas, resigned Wednesday shortly before a public hearing to determine whether or not they had misused city funds for tickets to attend former first lady Michelle Obama's book tour in Dallas.

What's the story?

Thomas and Hayes stand accused of being improperly reimbursed for $545 worth of tickets for Michelle Obama's book tour. Although they resigned before their hearing, both officials claimed they were innocent.

"I will not leave my fate in the hands of other individuals," Hayes told WFAA-TV. "I am a woman of integrity, and the allegations, they have no substance. They are false."

Thomas said the allegations were politically motivated.

"They are doing the wrong thing," she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I am a mover and a shaker. I get things done, and they don't like that."

Hayes said the reimbursement had been approved by the city manager, but the money was returned as soon as people began to raise objections.

"We don't get a salary, but we are entitled to be reimbursed for our expenses," Thomas told WFAA. "We are not trying to hide anything."

The hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, Thomas had asked for a three-month extension to prepare her defense, arguing that she had only been informed of these accusations of misconduct on Jan. 8. Her request was denied and the City Council voted 4-3 to proceed with the hearing.

In her resignation letter dated Jan. 16, Thomas explained, "If I allow the City Council to vote me out I will not be able to run for 3 years or in the current election; therefore to protect myself, I resign under duress."

Hayes and Thomas said they plan to run for city council again. The next election will be in May.

Three members of the City Council also raised questions about reimbursements by Thomas and Hayes for expenses at restaurants, including Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse, according to the Star-Telegram.

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