In June 2017, Deport Mayor John Mark Francis, then 26-years old, was arrested and charged with theft of property between $2,500-$30,000. The charge is a state jail felony, though reports at the time say Francis surrendered himself once notified of the warrant for arrest against him before being released on a $7,500 bond.
Francis was accused at the time of using city funds to pay for personal items, which he claimed was untrue due to furniture being delivered to his private residence. It was reported that his reasoning was because no one available at the city hall, therefore his address was a back up for deliveries.
After a few years of his delayed court appearance, Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young said in a statement on Jan. 22, “Mr. Francis’ case was resolved this morning. He pled to a lesser included offense of Abuse of Official Capacity and received a sentence of 1-year deferred adjudication and will pay back the City of Deport for any restitution that may be owed.”
“In pleading, Mr. Francis accepted responsibility for his actions and will pay back any monies that may be owed to the City of Deport. The citizens of Deport can now decide if they want him to continue as their mayor,” he continued.
It is unknown at this time what Francis’ role with the City of Deport will be.