Startup nonprofit’s politicking scrutinized

As Nashville voters decide a runoff mayor’s election today, the faith-based group Nashville Organized for Action and Hope says it is weighing legal action over use of campaign materials appearing under the name of a predecessor organization.

Further from The Tennessean:

The name at issue is Tying Nashville Together, a defunct social justice-driven nonprofit in Nashville that consisted of churches, synagogues and neighborhood associations and was active for nearly two decades, particularly in North Nashville.

Tying Nashville Together, founded in 1991, recently dissolved, but core members in 2013 organized under the nonprofit NOAH, which has built a campaign platform that it has presented to Nashville’s mayoral and council candidates.

Two pieces of campaign material have surfaced ahead of Thursday’s Metro’s runoff election that say they are paid for by a new nonprofit corporation with the same name, Tying Nashville Together, which records show filed for organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State on Aug. 20.

One piece of campaign literature — one that appears to be circulating in North Nashville — is a voting card that says “Vote for these candidates.” Candidates listed are mayoral candidate David Fox and at-large Metro Council candidates Erica Gilmore, Jim Shulman, Sharon Hurt, Lonnell Matthews Jr. and John Cooper.

The Aug. 20 nonprofit filing of Tying Nashville Together with the state lists Donald Richardson at 1028 Charlotte Ave. as the registered agent of the group. That address is also the address of Nashville Limousine Service, an Internet search shows.

A phone number listed on the Yelp page for Nashville Limousine Service is the phone number of Rick Williams, chairman of Save Our Fairgrounds and Stop Amp who is historically active in Metro races. In addition the incorporating address of Nashville Limousine Service appears to be the Madison home address of Williams.

Williams did not return numerous calls from The Tennessean or respond to multiple text messages.

Fox campaign spokesman Israel Ortega said the Fox campaign gave a $1,500 contribution to the Williams-led entity to cover printing costs of the voting card.