News release from TBI (dated Friday, Feb. 8):
Chattanooga, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a former employee of the Monroe County Circuit Court Clerk’s office after he was indicted by the Monroe County grand jury earlier this week on theft and misconduct charges.
Norman Bruce Arp, 49, of Sweetwater, Tenn. was indicted on one count of theft over $1,000 and one count of official misconduct.
Between February 2012 and September 2012, while working as an administrative assistant to the Monroe County Circuit Court Clerk, Arp embezzled funds by withholding cash deposits from fees collected in the offices of the Circuit and General Sessions Court Clerk’s. Arp kept deposit slips to record amounts for repayment purposes. A state audit conducted by the Comptroller’s office discovered the theft. The 10th Judicial District Attorney General requested TBI to investigate in September 2012. Arp stated he took the money because he had fallen on hard financial times. He has since repaid the funds.
Arp was booked tonight into the Monroe County Jail and released on $10,000 bond.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s top aide has been recommended for an official role at next week’s Republican National Convention.
Lance Frizzell, who serves as the Blountville Republican’s chief of staff, has been selected as one of 10 tally clerks working at the Tampa, Fla., event to crown former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan the GOP presidential and vice presidential nominees.
The other tally clerks include state party chairs from Alabama, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands, as well as several Republican National Committee members from around the country.
Frizzell also serves on the state party’s executive committee alongside Memphis attorney John Ryder, who has been named an assistant parliamentarian at the convention.
A former Sevier County Court Clerk who admitted he stole nearly $100,000 from the county avoided jail time Wednesday by pleading guilty to theft and official misconduct charges, reports the News Sentinel. Joe Thomas Keener, who resigned in August 2010 after manning the elected post for more than 18 years, received a suspended 10-year prison sentence that he’ll serve on supervised probation, 4th Judicial Circuit District Attorney General James B. Dunn said following a hearing in Sevier County Circuit Court.
Prosecturors contend Keener, 50, stole $94,645.50 in cash from the clerk’s office between July 1 and Aug. 16, 2010.
In accordance with an agreement reached between prosecutors and defense attorney Wade Davies, Keener pleaded guilty to charges of official misconduct and theft of more than $60,000, received the suspended prison sentence and is required to repay $14,109 in restitution for an audit conducted by Sevier County. He must also complete 500 hours of community service work.
Dunn said Keener has already repaid all of the money he stole from the county.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A former auto title clerk in Memphis is scheduled to begin serving an eight-year bribery sentence.
At a hearing on Monday in Shelby County Criminal Court, Jacqueline Denson repeatedly told the judge she had done nothing wrong in accepting what she called “tips” and presented papers in which she said she was being “railroaded,” according to The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/w44MYi ).
Denson pleaded guilty in July to six counts of bribery. She was accused of taking $5 to $40 dollars in the instances.
A two-year investigation has resulted in bribery or official misconduct charges against 16 people in the Shelby County Clerk’s office. Former City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware is among the defendants.
Denson was ordered to begin serving her sentence on Tuesday.
Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence has applied for his pension with a retirement date effective for July 16, amid an active investigation of his actions while holding office, reports The Tennessean.
Torrence, who was first elected as criminal court clerk in 1994, signed the paperwork for his pension on Wednesday, according to Robin Brown of Metro’s human resources department.
The ongoing investigation by Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson was launched in May after a WSMV Channel 4 story that showed Torrence frequently came to the courthouse only three days a week and used his government vehicle to run personal errands.
Johnson’s office would not comment on the investigation because it is active, spokeswoman Susan Niland said.
The present term Torrence is serving is through 2014. He was re-elected to the office in 2010. Councilman Charlie Tygard was the lead sponsor of a resolution approved by the Metro Council calling for Torrence’s resignation just before the investigation was launched.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors in Nashville have begun an investigation into Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence following broadcast reports that he works just three days a week and uses his government vehicle for personal errands.
District Attorney General Torry Johnson on Friday said Nashvillians are upset by the actions of Torrence, who is elected.
After the stories aired on WSMV-TV, members of the Metro Council presented a resolution calling for Torrence’s resignation.
He has told the station he takes Wednesday and Friday off every week, and that his office is efficient and well run. He has not responded to the call for his resignation.
Johnson told a news conference the investigation will review records from the past several years.