Preston Pleads Guilty To Misusing A Credit Card

Apr 24, 2017

Preston took a seat in the courtroom before the judge called her up.
Credit Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

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.

Joseph Fazzary, district attorney for Schuyler County, said Preston has lost a lot, including her career and reputation.
Credit Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

“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?"

(left to right) Preston's lawyer, Paul Battisti, and Joseph Fazzary stood before Judge William C. Pelella, Monday morning. Pelella said the case was difficult because Preston was "placed in a position of trust and [she] violated that trust." Preston is not pictured, but stood next to her lawyer.
Credit Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News