Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 Reminder on Anonymous Comments or Tips

It has been a while since I have posted a reminder on comments to this blog.

Here is how it goes...

To make a comment on a blog post, click on "Post a Comment" at the end of the post. After the comment has been sent, send a separate email to me ( with your full name and a phone number for phone contact. I will then make contact you by phone to verify the comment and the name and identity of the commenter.

Verification of your name and identity is intended to prevent someone else from putting your name on a comment and also to ensure that there is an identifiable person behind a comment.

If you request anonymity after verification due to fear of retaliation or for some other reason, the comment can be withheld or posted as "anonymous."

The procedure for "Anonymous Comments" is outlined at the right of this blog under the "About Me" section.

If you want to send some information or provide a news tip, you may use the same email address (

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012 "Forging Ahead" Wants in on Pigeon Forge LBTD Election Contest

Another player in the Pigeon Forge liquor-by-the-drink referendum wants in on the election contest.

LBTD passed by a 100-vote margin in a November 6 referendum. A lawsuit was subsequently filed alleging that 300+ ballots cast in the election were not from registered Pigeon Forge residents or property owner voters.

Forging Ahead, a group that raised money and campaigned to support passage of LBTD, has filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit that was filed by Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge against the Sevier County Election Commission.

Forging Ahead is represented by former Knox County Law Director John Owings and wants to intervene in order to "protect its interests and assist the court in consideration of this matter...."

Owings wants his motion heard on January 4, six days before the scheduled start of the trial on January 10 before Chancellor Telford Forgety.

In yesterday's News-Sentinel, the attorney for the Sevier County Election Commission confirmed that most of what he called "extra" votes were cast at the Pigeon Forge City Hall precinct. Attorney Dennis Francis added that he expects that the final number of "extra" votes will be in the high 200s.

The News-Sentinel article is here.

The original complaint filed in Sevier County Chancery Court is here. Paragraphs 10-22 outline the bases of the allegation that approximately 303 improper votes were cast in a referendum that passed by a 100-vote margin.

December 28, 2012 MUC Electric, Telecom, and Water Reports (VIDEO)

The Morristown Utility Commission met at 8 AM on Wednesday, December 26.

The electric, telecom, and water reports are here.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27, 2012 Poll Workers' Deposition Testimony in Pigeon Forge LBTD Election Contest

The Pigeon Forge liquor-by-the-drink referendum is the subject of an election contest in Sevier County Chancery Court. The trial is scheduled for January 10-11 in front of Chancellor Telford Forgety.

One of the allegations in the election contest is that 300+ more votes were counted and certified by the Sevier County Election Commission than were cast by actual registered Pigeon Forge voters. Therefore, the true election results are "incurably uncertain."

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 more than 300 votes is in question, the election contest may decide whether the referendum stands or whether a new referendum must be held.

Deposition testimony of two Pigeon Forge poll workers indicates that non-Pigeon Forge voters (e.g. Sevier County voters who live outside Pigeon Forge and who are not Pigeon Forge property owners) were allowed to vote in the Pigeon Forge LBTD referendum.

Greg Johnson of the News-Sentinel discusses some of the testimony here

Previous blog posts with links to N-S articles are here, here, and here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25, 2012 Merry Christmas

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

'Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Song/video version here.

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.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 Remaining Defendants in Christian-Newsom Murders Make Case for New Trials

Vanessa Coleman was re-tried and re-convicted in Knox County Crominal Court. Click here.

The remaining three defendants in the horrific kinapping, torture, rape, and mirder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom are seeking new trials. 

Attorneys for Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas have made their case for new trials to Judge Walter Kurtz. Kurtz will rule on the requests in January. Click here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012 Knox Trustee Employees Plead Guilty To Facilitation of Public Misconduct

Two employees of Knox County Trustee Jimmy Duncan III have pled guilty to facilitation of public misconduct.

Trustee Chief of Staff Josh Burnett and delinquent tax attorney Chad Tindell entered their pleas in Knox County Criminal Court yesterday.

Both received sentences of 11 months and 29 days probation and will likely seek judicial diversion. Burnett and Tindell have submitted their resignations.

Their pleas are in connection with bonuses given by Duncan to himself and other employees of the trustee's office. 

Burnett and Tindell admitted knowing that "another or others intended to commit official misconduct (and) … knowingly furnished substantial assistance in the official misconduct," which occurred in December 2010, according to court documents.

The News-Sentinel story is here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012 Election Contest Filed in Sevier Chancery Court in Pigeon Forge Liquor-by-the-Drink Referendum

A liquor-by-the-drink referendum was held in Pigeon Forge on November 6. 

On November 19, the Sevier County Election Commission certified the results of the LBTD referendum, 1,232 FOR and 1,132 AGAINST, for a total of 2,364 votes cast on the LBTD question.

A lawsuit was then filed by a group opposed to LBTD alleging that irregularities in the conduct of the election and discrepancies in the final tally make the results of the vote "incurably uncertain."

Among the problems cited in the Complaint, it is stated that Election Commission records show that 2,061 registered voters cast votes in the LBTD referendum, but the Election Commission certified final results showing that 2,364 votes were cast in the LBTD referendum.

The suit asks that the current referendum be voided and a new referendum held.

The Sevier County Chancery lawsuit is here. The News-Sentinel article with a link to the lawsuit is here.

Articles are here, herehere, and here.

Friday, December 07, 2012

December 7, 2012 Remembering "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech to Congress following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941----A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

December 4, 2012 MUC Seeks City Approval for $7 Million Bond Issue

MUC (Morristown Utilities Commission) will ask City Council to approve a seven-million dollar variable rate bond issue for construction of electric substations at this afternoon's 5:00 council meeting.
MUC plans to convert the variable rate bonds to fixed rates if variable rates start upward and hit a certain trigger point.