Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013 Former Knox Judge Richard Baumgartner Reports to Federal Prison

Disgraced Knox County Judge Criminal Judge Richard Baumgartner has reported to a minimum security federal prison in West Virginia to serve a six-month sentence following his conviction in federal court for lying to investigators to cover up pill-buys from his mistress.

The News-Sentinel story is here.

Baumgartner presided over a series of trials in connection with the carjacking, torture, rape, and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.  State charges were brought when the TBI came in and investigated his pill-usage and purchases from his mistress Deena Castleman who was a "graduate" of the Drug Court established by Baumgartner.

Baumgartner negotiated a plea deal on the state charges where he pled guilty to official misconduct, resigned from the bench, and received diversion.

Federal charges were then brought and Baumgartner was convicted in federal court of misprision. He is appealing that conviction but elected to go on and serve his sentence while the appeals process  moves forward.

In a related story, former DA Al Schmutzer expressed relief over the recent conviction of George Thomas following his re-trial in the Christian-Newsom case. Schmutzer was not involved in the Christian-Newsom trials but acted as the special prosecutor in the state case against Baumgartner and negotiated a plea deal where Baumgartner would resign from the bench, plea guilty to official misconduct, and receive diversion which would allow his record to be wiped clean if his record remained out of trouble for two years. The interview with Schmutzer is here.

Previous blog posts and links to stories about Baumgartner are here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013 LeBel Questions James Craine on East End Food City TIF and Masengill Springs Food City TIF

On May 21, the Morristown City Council approved a $2.5 TIF (tax incremental financing) for the Masengill Springs Food City by a 4-3 vote. In favor were Alvis, Bivens, Chesney, and Thomas and opposed were Garrett, LeBel, and Senter.

These videos show what took place before the vote on the Masengill Springs TIF.

James Craine, vice-chairman of the IDB, stated that he performed the Masengill Springs economic impact study that is the basis for the IDB's recommendation of a TIF. Craine said that he was requested to perform the study by the IDB of which he is a member. He added that he was paid approximately $5,000.00 for his work. [Apologies for the poor video but the audio is clear]

LeBel then grilled Craine about the IDB's handling of the only currently active TIF--the east end Barton Springs Food City TIF.

LeBel also questioned Craine about the Masengill Springs TIF that was on the council's agenda and that was later approved by a 4-3 vote.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013 George Thomas Convicted in Christian-Newsom Re-trial

George Thomas got a re-trial in the Christian-Newsom carjacking, kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder case.

And he was convicted again on multiple counts and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The NS story is here.

There is also an article in yesterday's NS providing a re-cap of this six-year saga with the unbelievable horror of the crimes, the trials, the pill-popping Judge, and the re-trials. Click here.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

May 8, 2013 And The Ones Who Got The Most Votes Are...

May 1, 2013 City Election

Alvis, Chesney, Senter, and Garrett

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May 7, 2013 Election Day in the City of Morristown

The polls are open from 8 am - 8 pm.

If you are unsure where your voting precinct is located, the Election Commission (586-7169) can help.

If you missed getting by to see the sign with Kay Senter's "accomplishments" on City Council during the past 20 years, it has been moved now, but it can still be seen here.

Moving Morristown Forward (MMF)--which lists John Stroud and George Haggard as members--has been pushing hard for the team of Senter, Garrett, and Chesney.

Stroud is listed as secretary to the Industrial Board of the City of Morristown.  The first time I saw him was at a city council meeting in 2011 where he worked himself into a frenzy as he accused the Mayor of being a "dictator." 

Haggard, in addition to being the main contributor to Moving Morristown Forward, doubles as Chesney's campaign treasurer.

Chesney has VERY carefully avoided dealing with the fact that he was just elected to the School Board nine months ago and now he has decided he wants ANOTHER ELECTED OFFICE as a City Councilman.

Chesney wasn't the first choice of Tim and David Wild, but he was willing to step in and run when the Wilds' first pick--Dr. Sid Boyd--backed out.

Garrett worked with the water department at Morristown Utilities for four decades before his election to council in 2009.  In 2011 and 2012, Garrett voted against 21 people nominated to the MUC Board by the Mayor and then supported the "McGuffin Law" that changed the MUC appointment process without letting the people vote on the changes.

For $250, Garrett, Senter, LeBel, Bivens, and Jinks could have let the people have a voice and a vote in 2012 on the controversial MUC issue, but they all said "NO." 

Friday, May 03, 2013

May 3, 2013 Kay Senter's Record on Trailer Next to Weigel's on West A.J. Highway

As Paul Harvey would say, the "rest of the story" about Kay Senter's experience on City Council is on a trailer that is parked on the old Morristown Chevrolet site on the West Andrew Johnson Highway next to Weigel's. [Some people may be able to enlarge the picture simply by clicking on it]

Sometimes government "experience" is actually just lots and lots of experience in raising taxes, starting new fees (garbage fees), increasing old fees (like sewer fees) to astronomical levels, refusing to respect and let the people vote on issues (MUS), and using taxpayer dollars and taxpayer-paid city employees to promote a YES Vote in a referendum on a sales tax increase.

And this doesn't even mention Ms. Senter's many attempts to censor or limit public comments at council meetings.