By Max Fontaine | Beacon plea bargain reporter
The Bass Lake mayor-by-default and the former chief of the Bass Lake Authority Police (BLAP) avoided jail time Tuesday by pleading guilty to lesser charges in the Helicoptergate scandal that has vibrated the town.
Mayor-by-default Delores Denominator and her accomplice, former BLAP chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb, were accused of diverting money meant to purchase a Schweizer 269C-1, instead using the $240,000 to gamble and to purchase Tupperware and items “as seen on television.”
If the duo had been convicted on the embezzlement and conspiracy charges, the pair faced up to eight years in Nearbytown Jail, or some other equally dank hole.
“Denominator went along for the ride, so to speak.”
– Elle Alaw, District attorney
Instead, both McNabb and Denominator pleaded guilty to being idiots and will not face any time behind — or in front of, depending on one’s perspective — bars.
McNabb already had been relieved of his post and was demoted to bicycle patrol.
Denominator, who is seeking to upgrade from mayor-by-default to bonafide mayor in the Nov. 4 election, will remain in office until the town council can figure out what to do or until after the election, whichever comes first.
Denominator faces three opponents, only one of whom has political experience and only two of whom are visible on a regular basis.
Prosecutors agreed to the reduced charges because Denominator and McNabb “lack the mental fortitude to conspire on where to have lunch, let alone the theft of $240,000,” according to Elle Alaw, a district attorney for upper lower Michiana. “They did it on a whim. Former Chief McNabb anticipated seizing large sums of money from local drug cartels with the help of the helicopter. Denominator went along for the ride, so to speak.”
But as Alaw pointed out, there are no local drug cartels.
In addition to staying out of jail, Denominator and McNabb will be on probation for three years and must each complete 4,000 hours of community service.
Both declined to comment on the deal.
Judge Judy Judge, acting judge in the case, let the plea deal go ahead, saying she was tired and just “wants to take” a nap.