Sawmills mayor indicted

Accused of forging dad's checks to pay bills
Aug. 21, 2014 @ 08:06 AM

William Robert "Bob" Gibbs III, mayor of Sawmills, turned himself in on Monday after he was indicted on 12 felony counts of forgery and uttering.

Gibbs, 59, of Duff Drive in Hudson is accused of forging the signature of his father, William Robert Gibbs Jr., on 12 checks totaling $11,285 drawn on his father's account at a PNC Bank in Hudson between April 5 and July 9, according to indictments issued Aug. 11 by a Caldwell County grand jury.

Bob Gibbs said Wednesday that he and his brother, Mark Gibbs, jointly held power of attorney over the account. He said the checks were used to pay personal bills.

"My dad moved to Cocoa Beach, Fla., and the money in the account was from a beach property that sold for $18,000," Gibbs said. I wrote the checks, I cashed them, and I didn't tell him about it."

The Brevard County, Fla., Sheriff's Office was contacted in January by Mark Gibbs and William Gibbs Jr., 83, after William Gibbs Jr. noticed checks cashed in his name that he didn't write, Hudson Police Detective Richard Blevins said.

Bob Gibbs was elected to Sawmills Town Council in November 2005 and served his first term on council from December 2005 to December 2009. He served as mayor pro-tem from December 2005 until he took office as mayor in December 2009. He was reelected mayor in November 2013. His term is up in December 2017.

In an interview Wednesday, Bob Gibbs expressed remorse for his actions. He said he would try to work things out with his father and brother, possibly through restitution.

"I've never done anything like this before in my life, and I never will again," he said. "I've let my family down, and the community. I'm ashamed. I ask for forgiveness from the people who trust me."

Gibbs surrendered to Hudson police on Monday. He then drove himself to the magistrate's office, where he was released on a written promise to appear in court, Blevins said. A first-appearance hearing was set for Sept. 8 in Caldwell Superior Court.

Sawmills Town Administrator Seth Eckard said he learned of the charges Wednesday.

"We were very surprised by this news," Eckard said. "This is a personal issue, this has nothing to do with the town. I'll talk to council members next. But we're going to wait and see how this plays out. We need to learn more."