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Republican mayor outed after spending taxpayer money at gay sex store in Toronto

A Mississippi mayor has been forced to come out of the closet after charging taxpayers for a purchase made at a gay sex store in Toronto.

Greg Davis, the Republican mayor of Southaven, Miss., is embroiled in a spending scandal after state auditors requested receipts for $170,000 (U.S.) in improper charges he made to the city.

According to The Commercial Appeal , a newspaper in Memphis, Tenn., the receipts include thousands of dollars in liquor and lavish dinners, as well as a $67 charge at a store called Priape, which bills itself as "Canada's premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop."

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Mr. Davis ran as a conservative, family values candidate in an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2008. He has a wife of 19 years, Suzann, and three young daughters, who are all active members of Heartland Baptist Church, according to the city's website.

"At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case," Mr. Davis told the newspaper in an interview on Thursday afternoon from his Southaven home. "While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual – and still continue to be a very conservative individual – I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay."

The mayor's office did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The Commercial Appeal obtained the receipts through a Freedom of Information request. Mr. Davis told the newspaper he couldn't recall what he bought at the sex store, and that he was in Toronto on a recruitment trip with Mid-South warehouse developers.

Southaven is the third-largest city in Mississippi, and Mr. Davis was first elected as its mayor in 1997.

He told the newspaper it's too early to discuss whether he'll step down, and that he'll take time off over the holidays to be with his family.

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Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

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