Durham closes business tied to campaign investigation

State Rep. Jeremy Durham has closed the title company business that ties into an investigation over whether the Franklin Republican diverted campaign money to personal use, reports the Tennessean.

In addition to serving as a lawmaker, Durham is an attorney. Until recently, he operated a title company called Battleground Title & Escrow LLC, a company used for real estate transactions that was founded in November 2014, according to documents from the secretary of state.

But on Aug. 15, the status of his business went from active to dissolved to terminated, according to state records. Adam Ghassemi, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said a “notice of dissolution” and “articles of termination” were filed by Durham with the office Aug. 15. That means Durham can’t continue to legally conduct business under the name Battleground Title & Escrow.

“The voluntary dissolution is filed on behalf of the entity by an authorized party when the entity is winding down a business,” Ghassemi said. “Articles of termination mean the entity will be legally terminated.”

…In May, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced a former Durham employee named Benton Smith had given his office a signed statement accusing Durham of using campaign funds for his title company. The announcement came before Slatery released his final report from the investigation that revealed allegations of sexual misconduct by Durham.

…Durham has adamantly denied the allegations from Smith, calling him a disgruntled employee, but the findings were turned over to the registry. The registry announced it would investigate Durham’s actions…Earlier this week (Durham’s attorney, Peter) Strianse said U.S. Attorney David Rivera has issued two subpoenas related to Durham’s campaign finances, possibly to explore whether any tax violation occurred.