TDOT to remove ‘corrupt officials’ billboards

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is moving to take down two bright yellow billboards on Interstate 240 in Memphis that declare TDOT Commissioner John Schroer and another department employee are “corrupt officials,” reports the Commercial Appeal.

The back-to-back signs sit atop a pole, one facing east and the other west, just west of the Perkins exit.


The “T DOT COM.” refers not to some dot-com company, but to the Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner. He is “Schroer,” full name John Schroer.

“Shawn Bible” works for TDOT, too. She is in charge of the Beautification Office, which, among other tasks, regulates billboards along the rights-of-way.

The agency is about to come crashing down on what courts have ruled to be an illegally erected billboard. Not because of the signs’ corruption allegation, but because the structure stands within the Nonconnah Creek flood way (where billboards are prohibited).

…William H. Thomas Jr., doing business as Thomas Investments, built the billboard, according to TDOT and court documents.

Thomas applied for the billboard permit from TDOT on June 8, 2006, court records show. A month later, TDOT denied the permit, citing the wrong zoning.

He built it anyway, based on a construction permit he got from the Office of Construction Code Enforcement which, in error, thought the site was not in the flood way.

…The case had been tied up in courts for several years. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled June 27 that the billboard is illegal and must be removed.

TDOT has given notice to Thomas to remove the billboard within 30 days or the agency will dismantle it at his expense. The 30 days have not expired, TDOT spokesman Nichole Lawrence said.

…Asked if there would be a response, legal or otherwise, to the corruption accusations, Lawrence said, “That is not a decision to be made by TDOT, but by the individuals themselves.” Asked if Schroer and Bible would respond to the billboard’s accusation, Lawrence said, “I don’t know that there will be any kind of response.”