Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 More on the Pigeon Forge Liquor-by-the-Drink Referendum and Election Contest

Update on the Pigeon Forge Liquor-by-the-Drink (LBTD) Referendum. See December 12th post here

A number of depositions have already been taken in preparation for the election contest that is scheduled to be heard before Chancellor Telford Forgety in Sevier County Chancery Court on Jan 10-11, 2013. Information on deposition testimony by poll workers is here

The attorney for the Sevier County Election Commission which handles voting in Pigeon Forge has stated that he agrees with poll workers who stated that it (Election Day) was a "confusing and chaotic" day.

Attorney Dennis Francis also stated that most of the "extra" votes case in the referendum election will come from those who live in Sevier County but outside of the Pigeon Forge city limits. Francis claims that those "extra" votes, which are alleged to be around 303, may be lower than 303 but "not significantly lower."

In the LBTD referendum, there were 1232 votes FOR and 1132 AGAINST.  Since the referendum only passed with a 100-vote margin and the validity of 303 votes is in question, the election contest will prove to be very interesting.

Because the election was certified, liquor licenses have been granted. Here.

As in many cities, individuals who do not live in Pigeon Forge but who own property there may vote in city elections.  In addition to various irregularities at the polling places, today's News-Sentinel article includes information on property deeds made out to more than a dozen non-residents right before the referendum.

These deeds were drafted by Knoxville arrorney Elizabeth Martin and enabled these individuals, including the attorney, to vote in the LBTD referendum. The deeds transfer a 1% interest in commercial property to the Knoxville attorney and several others and show "$0" as the consideration or amount paid for the 1% interest. After the election, at least three of the "new" property owners, including the attorney who drafted the deeds, deeded the property back to LeConte Village, LLC

The News-Sentinel also reports that the FBI met recently with and obtained records from the group (Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge) that opposed the LBTD referendum and that filed the election contest.

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