Starrett defends work history

Republican congressional candidate Grant Starrett is taking issue with attacks about his work history from incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, reports the Daily News Journal.

DesJarlais campaign spokesman Robert Jameson, citing blog posts about Starrett’s employment, recently sent out accusations that Starrett doesn’t have an actual job and is instead being bankrolled by “his father’s rich friends” in order to campaign for Congress.

Starrett campaign manager Tommy Schultz, however, said Starrett has worked with Los Angeles-based Lion Real Estate Group LLC.

“This is a dirty trick in the final week of the election by a desperate DesJarlais scrambling to divert attention from his votes for Obama’s food stamps and military cuts,” Schultz said. “This attack on Grant is pathetic and outrageous. It’s an outright lie straight out of Harry Reid’s dirty playbook. Scott DesJarlais and his cronies should be ashamed.”

…The DesJarlais campaign has accused Starrett of being a “Mr. California … trust fund” son who grew up in an affluent family before moving to Murfreesboro in 2015 to “buy” a seat in Congress. Starrett’s campaign asserts that he moved to Tennessee in 2009 and completed a law degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville before moving to Murfreesboro.

The DesJarlais campaign spokesman noted how Rocky Top Politics posted that Lion Real Estate LLC registered as a business with the Tennessee Secretary of State only recently on July 26, 2016. The state website shows the principal office being for Ballard Scearce at 412 Georgia Ave., Suite 102, in Chattanooga, and then shows a mailing address for David Collins at 2069 45th St. in Astoria, NY.

The listing with the state excluded the word “Group,” which is part of the formal title of Los Angeles-based Lion Real Estate Group LLC, according to the company’s website.

Starrett had nothing to do with the filing of the business in Tennessee, said Schultz, the campaign manager.

“Despite the lie being perpetrated by an anonymous blog and DesJarlais’ team, neither Grant nor anyone with the company he works for filed a new LLC with the Tennessee secretary of state,” Schultz said in an email. “In addition, neither Grant nor his employer know either of the parties (David Collins or the Scearce Law Firm), who recently filed the LLC. Grant has never met or spoken with them, and the same is true for anyone on our campaign. I urge you to call these individuals associated with the filing and ask them why they are attempting to meddle in a Congressional race.”

The Schultz email also included statements from Jeff Weller, the Lion Real Estate Group chief executive officer, who testified about Starrett’s work history.

“I am delighted to have Grant as Lion Real Estate Group’s vice president and special counsel,” Weller’s statement said. “My family is from Tennessee and over a couple of UT games at Neyland in 2014, Grant and I discussed Lion’s need for someone to analyze demographic data and regulations. Grant fit the bill exactly, having gained experience analyzing demographics in politics and regulations while at Vanderbilt Law School. I am proud of our company’s strong record of returns on investments in apartment buildings, and Grant has been a model employee in helping us apply our investment thesis.”