Cochran Mayor Cliff Avant says a charitable act on his part has turned into a felony theft charge.
"I want to see my accusers prove me guilty because I have not done anything wrong, nor have I done anything illegal," says Avant.
Avant turned himself in last October, after police say he stole PVC pipes worth $2500.
"This was a surplus pipe that had been sitting out in the weather for well over three years, unusable by the city by any means," says Avant.
He gave the pipes to House of Grace in Cochran.
"Instead of allowing something to rot in a field, I saw a purpose for it and donated it to a church," says Avant
Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order on Monday saying, "That Mr. Clifford Lee Avant is hereby suspended from office immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office, whichever occurs first..."
Avant says, "I'm looking forward to my trial date I really am, this is the kind of thing that keeps a lot of people out of politics, this petty, local, vindictive nature of some people in our community."
Willie Basby will serve as Mayor Pro Tem during Mayor Avant's suspension.