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Preston Has a Napoleon Complex, Vol. 1


A year and a half after Napoleon Dynamite launched Preston, Idaho, into the greater American lexicon, the town still refuses to leave the news. If its citizens aren't selling the homes that appeared in the film, they're appearing in Napoleon-themed parades. Or the town is the subject of goofy legislation in the Idaho Legislature. Or it is being cited as a case for giving tax breaks to filmmakers in Idaho (what with the whopping $400,000 budget Napoleon toted into the Gem State and all). Or, in the case of the town's former mayor and police chief, Prestonites are making headlines by engaging in the kind of tyrannical behavior befitting history's other famous Napoleon--that is, Nap Lajoie, Hall of Fame major league infielder whose ego was so big, he coerced the Cleveland Bronchos into changing their name to the Cleveland Naps from 1905 to 1914 (true story!).

The Office of the Idaho Attorney General filed charges on November 9 against former Preston Mayor Jay Brent Heusser, accusing him of ripping off his city to the tune of $1,300. According to a statement from the AG's office, Heusser allegedly presented the Preston City Council with a claim for travel expenses to Washington, D.C., in 2000. Trouble was, the Franklin County Drug Endowment Fund had already paid Heusser for an identical claim and had simply not notified the Preston council. Authorities say Heusser knew this, and if they're able to convince a few other people, Heusser could face up to five years in prison.

At this point, things are looking bleak for Heusser--much how they looked for the student council presidential candidate Pedro near the end of Preston's famous film. Also like the film, the embattled ex-mayor's only chance for acquittal may be a spastic dance routine by a surprise witness at his upcoming trial. Or at least that's what we're hoping.