Friday, June 29, 2007

June 28, 2007 Taxes: Going UP

Quick post

Hamblen County Taxes Go UP....AGAIN!

Hamblen County taxes are going up AGAIN. Taxes were increased by 10 cents at Thursday's 5:00 commission meeting.

Voting for the tax increase were: Larry Baker, Ricky Bruce, Stancil Ford, Herbert Harville, Tommy Massey, Frank Parker, Nancy Phillips, Reece Sexton, Joe Swann, and Dana Wampler.

Voting against the tax increase were: Guy Collins, Doyle Fullington, Paul Lebel, and Joe Spoone.

City of Morristown Taxes Go WAY UP along with a nifty FEE!

And speaking of taxes, pity the taxpayers in the City of Morristown. They get the Hamblen County increase (10-cents) and they also get a City tax increase (40-cents) that passed a few days ago.

And on top of this, they get a $1/month stormwater "impact fee."

The "fee" will be collected by Morristown Utility Systems, so if a utility customer fails to pay the stormwater "impact fee" when paying the utility bill, he just might find himself electricity-less.

Voting for the City tax increase were newly-elected Mayor Sami Barile, William Rooney, Kay Senter, and Mel Tucker.

Voting against the City tax increase were Claude Jinks, Frank McGuffin, and Rick Trent.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12, 2007 Reinhardt Loses Election Contest Appeal

One of the closest races in the August 2006 Hamblen County election was the race for 4th district county commissioner.

Reece Sexton was declared the winner over Bobby Reinhardt by two votes (160-158), but only after a long night (and early morning) of repeated tabulations at the Courthouse.

Reinhardt contested the election in chancery court, maintaining that two paper ballots cast during early voting were illegal votes because they were not in strict compliance with T.C.A. 2-6-104. He lost.

[See my posts here (I), here (II), and here (III) for discussion of testimony at the trial and the chancellor's decision. ]

Reinhardt appealed the trial court's decision. In an opinion handed down yesterday, the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the trial court, refusing to void the results of the 4th district county commission race.

Left undecided by the Court of Appeals, however, was the central issue that was raised by Reinhardt on appeal, i.e. whether two paper ballots cast during early voting in the 4th district were legal or illegal votes.

The COA stated that without a transcript of Election Administrator Wanda Neal's testimony or a statement of the evidence, the Court had to assume that the proof at trial supported the trial court's decision in favor of Sexton.

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8, 2007 Sen. Cooper "not guilty"

With a quick verdict, jurors in Sen. Jerry Cooper's bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy trial found Cooper "not guilty" of all charges.

On Day One, the prosecutors laid out the motive--money. On Tuesday, former Tennessee Department of Economic Development head Bill Baxter was termed an unindicted co-conspirator by prosecutors.

At mid-week, however, you could see that this trial was probably going nowhere with this AP report.

The charges against Cooper were not connected to the 2005 Tennessee Waltz arrests of local and state legislators.

In Tennessee Waltz trials, prosecutors have been careful in building airtight cases over a period of time. So far, the Waltz prosecutors have yet to lose with 4 convictions, 5 guilty pleas, and a handful of trials yet to go.

The audio and video tapes that have been used at Tennessee Waltz trials have been compelling for jurors and apparently tell the sorry story of public corruption better than any prosecutor can.

As for Cooper, he isn't exactly home-free yet. Cooper still faces drunk-driving charges stemming from a one-vehicle accident that took place on February 7 after Cooper left a reception in Nashville at which the liquor flowed freely.

And now there are reports that testimony at Cooper's bank and wire fraud trial has raised new questions regarding a possible transfer that Cooper made of $95,000 from his campaign finance account to a personal account.

The current allegations may involve not only the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance but also the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Monday, June 04, 2007

June 4, 2007 Sen. Jerry Cooper Trial to Begin

The oft-delayed mail fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy trial of Tennessee State Sen. Jerry Cooper is finally set to begin today. The charges stem from a 1999 land deal.

[The most recent delay in Cooper's trial occurred in March as a result of injuries suffered by Sen. Cooper in a February 2007 single car wreck just outside of Nashville.

The wreck occurred after the senator left several legislative receptions in Nashville and apparently had consumed enough alcohol at the receptions so that his BAC (blood alcohol content) registered .18--- more than double Tennessee's .08 standard for intoxication.

Cooper faces unrelated DUI charges in connection with the wreck.]

In connection with the land deal, Senator Cooper is currently claiming that he was singled out for prosecution because he is a public figure. Too bad the purchaser of the property-- who was convicted for his part in the land deal-- couldn't make the same claim.

Neither of the charges against Cooper are related to the 2005 TN Waltz arrests that snared a number of Tennessee legislators for bribery and public corruption.