Jake Butcher — onetime banking kingpin, candidate for governor and federal prison inmate — dies aged 81

Jake Butcher, who helped bring the World’s Fair to Knoxville and then went to prison in disgrace after the collapse of the family banking empire he helped build, died Wednesday, reports the News Sentinel. He was 81.

Butcher was the 1978 Democratic nominee for governor, losing to Republican Lamar Alexander, and the leading promoter of the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville – both prior to his downfall.

Butcher and his brother, C.H. Butcher Jr., grew up on a farm in neighboring Union County, the sons of the county’s only banker. Together they built their father’s business into a multi-million-dollar financial network — one that federal authorities later determined to be a shell game.

… The brothers ultimately pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and bank fraud, with each serving a little less than seven years in prison before release on parole.

C.H. Butcher died in 2002 after falling down some stairs at his Georgia home. Jake Butcher had been in failing health prior to his death Wednesday.

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