scandals

David Briley sworn in as Nashville mayor

David Briley, Nashville’s vice mayor for the past two and a half years, was sworn in as Metro government’s eighth mayor Tuesday evening, replacing Megan Barry who resigned in disgrace earlier in the day, reports The Tennessean.

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Nashville mayor pleads guilty to theft, resigns from office

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry today pleaded guilty to a theft charge tied to her affair with her former police bodyguard, Rob Forrest, then resigned from office.  She agreed as part of a plea bargain to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years on probation.

The deal also called for her resignation and she officially announced that at a news conference following her court appearance.

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Haslam talks with governor accused in extramaritial affair, offers no advice on resignation

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, facing an indictment tied to an extramarital affair, cancelled a planned appearance at a weekend National Governors Association meeting in Washington and fellow Republican governors who attended shied away from saying whether he should resign or fight the charges, according to Politico.  With Nashville embroiled in controversy over Mayor Megan Barry’s extramarital affir, Gov. Bill Haslam, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, said he has talked with Greitens but isn’t offering advice.

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Nude photos of Nashville mayor found on lover/bodyguard ‘s cell phone?

Photographs of a woman’s nude body were found on the cell phone of former Metro Nashville police Sgt. Rob Forrest, who had an acknowledged sexual affair with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, reports The Tennessean, citing a TBI affidavit filed in seeking a court order mandating access to Barry’s personal cell phone.

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More on Nashville mayor’s extramarital affair

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry says her extramarital affair was with Metro police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr., who heads her security detail, and began in the spring or summer of 2016, just months after she entered office the previous fall, reports The Tennessean.

Forrest submitted his retirement papers Jan. 17. His final day was Wednesday.

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Nashville mayor acknowledges extramarital affair

Press release from Nashville mayor’s office

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2018) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding an extramarital affair:

“Today, I have acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail.

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ECD deemed winner of Beacon’s TN 2017 ‘Pork of the Year’ award

Press release from Beacon Center of Tennessee

In the 12th annual Tennessee Pork Report, the Beacon Center revealed that state and local government officials wasted more than $400 million of taxpayer money this past year.

The Pork Report highlights a combination of government mismanagement, incompetence, and outright fraud. The Beacon Center allowed Tennesseans to choose the infamous “Pork of the Year” award, and it really came down to the wire. After nearly 400 votes were cast, the “winner” of the award was the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development for their Industrial Machinery Tax Credit. The department took 34% of the vote in the public poll.

In one of the most inefficient instances of corporate welfare in recent years, Tennessee taxpayers paid a whopping $67 million annually for a mere 55 jobs per year from 2011-2014, which adds up to $1.2 million per job. Even if the program’s main goal isn’t to create jobs, it is not the government’s role to help buy equipment for some private companies on the backs of Tennessee taxpayers. The $14 million of tax dollars given to the Opryland Hotel to build a waterpark (that residents are not even allowed to use) came in a close second with nearly 32% of the vote. Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold and the state Jobs4TN Program came in the 3rd and 4th with 19% and 15%, respectively.

The Beacon Center prints the Pork Report every year to make sure state and local governments are held accountable for how ineffectively they spend our tax dollars. The wasteful spending in this report should make Tennesseans’ blood boil. We hope that government officials will use this report to slash wasteful spending in 2018.

The 2017 Pork Report comes from state and local budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff and scholars.

Note: The full 2017 “Pork Report” is HERE. Excerpt of some highlighted stuff as ‘nominated’ for Pork of the Year:

Jobs4TN: This state-based program has been taking millions of taxpayer dollars for years, spending more than $60 million in 2016- 2017 alone. This money then goes to a select few fortunate companies for their hiring and professional development needs, empowering government to pick winners and losers, and leaving left-out employers across the state to compete with these subsidized businesses.

Opryland Waterpark: The city of Nashville decided to give $14 million to Gaylord Opryland Hotel to construct a waterpark, and while taxpayers are footing the bill, the waterpark is open only to those staying at the hotel.

• Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD): ECD’s Industrial Machinery Tax Credit has doled out an astonishing $1.2 million in taxpayer money…per job. The tax credit has created just 55 total jobs at a cost of nearly $67 million.

• A Sheriff’s E-Cigarette Inmate Scheme: Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold profiteered off a captive audience of local inmates who were sold e-cigarettes from Arnold’s company—earning him and his wife nearly $75,000 over the course of their scheme, which was later exposed by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

Note: Arnold pleaded guilty to corruption charges and was sentenced to four years in prison. Randy Boyd, who resigned as ECD commissioner earlier this year, is running for governor.

Durham lawsuit contends his ouster was unconstitutional

Former state Rep. Jeremy Durham filed a federal lawsuit Monday contending his ouster from the state House was unconstitutional and the state should still provide him his pension and health insurance, reports The Tennessean.

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Witness tampering added to charges in Monroe County vote buying cases

Witness tampering has been added to the list of  federal charges against Brian “Wormy” Hodge, who is accused of buying votes to help Randy White get elected Monroe County sheriff in 2014, reports the News Sentinel.

 Hodge was initially indicted in February on charges he recruited now-confessed chronic vote buyer Betty Jane Best to funnel money he supplied to voters willing to cast their ballots for White and help those voters use the absentee ballot process to do so.

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Registry votes to fine Durham $465K for campaign finance violations

The Registry of Election Finance board voted today to levy $465,000 in civil penalties against former state Rep. Jeremy Durham for multiple violations of state campaign finance laws. That’s the biggest such fine ever imposed by the watchdog agency in its 26-year history.

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