State Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, was in Greene County Criminal Court Friday and waived his arraignment, according to WCYB-TV. He was indicted by the Grand Jury on Monday and faces a felony reckless endangerment charge after an incident in March involving his estranged wife, Crystal Goans. “This has been a nightmare,” Hawk said. “I strongly maintain my innocence in this situation.”
Judge John Duggar removed himself from the case because he knows Hawk and works with Goans.
In court, Duggar mentioned this is an unusual indictment because on the paperwork, the section code listed doesn’t match the charge that Hawk faces. The indictment states Hawk recklessly caused bodily injury to his spouse, but the code is for a reckless endangerment charge. “It’s a very bizarre process in this whole scenario,” Hawk said.
He said the case is takings its toll on everyone involved. “It’s stressful, especially on my family more than anything.”
Hawk was re-elected in November and will head back to Nashville in January for the new legislative session. He said despite the court case, he plans to continue working for the people of Greene County. “I enjoy the challenged of my service. I’m honored by the number of votes on election day. And I’m looking forward to continuing the work we do in Nashville,” said Hawk.
He is due back in court on May 30. The Tennessee Supreme Court will decide which judge will hear the case.
See also WJHL-TV’s interview with Hawk: “I’m not sure why it’s happening. I’m not sure what’s happening…. In the meantime, I’m going to keep on doing my work, keep on being a daddy and do what I need to do.”
State Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, was arrested today on an original Rhea County, Tenn., grand jury indictment charging him with assault in connection with an election-day incident on Aug. 2, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. According to 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor, Cobb was charged with assault on an indictment issued Monday. Cobb was booked and was being processed for release on a $3,000 bond, Rhea County Jail officials said…
Taylor said he could not talk about facts in the investigation, but he said the charge was related to an incident at Frazier Elementary School where a voting poll was set up on Aug. 2.
The alleged victim of the assault and a Rhea County sheriff’s deputy testified before the grand jury on Monday, Taylor said. The crime is a class A misdemeanor.
Cobb is scheduled to appear for a Friday hearing in Circuit Court.
— Note: Previous post HERE.
Cobb becomes the third House member to be indicted this year. The others are Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, charged with domestic assault on his wife; and Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who faces DUI and gun charges.
All three were House committee chairmen at the time of their indictments. Todd resigned as chair of the State and Local Government Committee while Hawk stepped down as chair of the Conservation and Environment Committee. Cobb is chair of the House Government Operations Committee.
Ten new names were added Wednesday to the growing list of people indicted in a long-running scheme in which authorities say Mid-South teachers hired others to take their certification tests, reports The Commercial Appeal. The indictments bring to 14 the number of teachers or test-takers accused of participating in a scam dating to 1995 in which former Memphis City Schools employee Clarence Mumford charged teachers and aspiring teachers thousands of dollars to hire stand-ins to take their required tests.
Federal authorities say the scam, which was uncovered in 2010, involved more than 50 teachers and test-takers from Memphis City Schools, Shelby County Schools and other school systems in West Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Those indicted Wednesday on fraud by mail, wire or identification documents include three people from Memphis – Jacklyn McKinnie, 44; Jeryl Shaw, 39; and Steve Holmes, whose age was not available.
The hired test-takers typically showed proctors falsified drivers’ licenses with their photos, but with the name and other identifying information of the teacher on the license.
Two McMinn County grand jurors in 2010 complained to an investigator that the jury foreman and an assistant district attorney tried to influence their votes in a politically fraught case, reports the Chattanooga TFP. The grand jury in July of that year voted not to indict sheriff candidate Joe Guy for campaign finance violations. Guy went on to win the election and is now McMinn County sheriff.
Later, two grand jurors told an investigator they felt improper influence was brought to bear in the jury room by foreman Joel Riley and Paul Rush, assistant district attorney in the 10th Judicial District.
No action was taken, records show. None of the other 10 grand jurors who sat on the case was interviewed, and the investigation was closed.
But both grand jurors told the Times Free Press they still believe Riley and Rush tried to influence their votes.
…The initial complaint alleged that a woman who worked for Gentry and Joe Guy told family members that Guy had given her and her husband cash and asked them to write him checks as campaign contributions.
The initial complaint alleged that a woman who worked for Gentry and Joe Guy told family members that Guy had given her and her husband cash and asked them to write him checks as campaign contributions.
Guy’s statement was slightly different. He told Haynes that Joy Early had come to him with the small contributions. He said he believed they were from deputies and others who didn’t want Frisbie to know they were giving to Guy.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Rep. Curry Todd can keep his handgun carry permit despite being indicted on drunken driving and weapons charges, the state Safety Department said Tuesday.
Safety spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said the Collierville Republican can continue to be armed in public while the case is pending. A drunken driving conviction would cause the permit to be suspended for one year, she said.
Todd, 64, is a retired Memphis police officer and a chief architect of a state law to allow handgun carry permit holders to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
He was arrested during a Nashville traffic stop in October after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed in a holster between the driver’s seat and center console.
A Davidson County grand jury has formally returned an indictment against state Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who was arrested last October on DUI and gun charges, reports The Tennessean. Todd’s attorney said Friday’s indictments were not a surprise. In addition to the criminal indictments, Todd was indicted on a charge of implied consent, a civil offense that can lead to loss of a driver’s license.
“This is part of a normal process,” Nashville attorney Worrick Robinson said. “We have been expecting this to happen at some point. We’ll address the issues and the charges when required in court.”
Despite the arrest, Todd, who is a retired police officer, does not face opposition for his House seat.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell said Monday that the indictments will make it “difficult if not impossible” for Todd to be restored to his powerful post as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, which he resigned after his arrest.
“Certainly I respect the legal system,” Harwell said. “I think all along Rep. Todd and I have both said we will abide with the decision of the judicial system. So clearly we will. I’ll think through what action will take place at the legislative level, but certainly it will impact.”
…No arraignment date has been set on the case, according to district attorney spokeswoman Susan Niland.
Michael Strayer, a former senior executive at the U.S. Department of Energy and longtime employee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his wife, Karen Earle, have been indicted in an alleged scheme that diverted $1.2 million in government funds to their personal use.
From Frank Munger’s report: Strayer, 69, and Earle, 48, were arraigned last week in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Both entered not guilty pleas, and a trial date was tentatively scheduled for mid-August.
The case revolves around the alleged misuse of federal funding for the SciDAC (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing) Review, a Department of Energy publication that Strayer started soon after he left ORNL in 2004 to take a job at DOE headquarters in Washington.
As DOE’s associate director of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Strayer used program funds for the publication to tout the work done by the agency’s scientific computing programs and related partnerships with universities.
According to the federal indictment, Strayer initiated a sole-source contracting process via ORNL to select a foreign publishing company — identified in the indictment as “Corporation A,” but reported to be IOP Publishing, based in England — to publish the SciDAC Review. In 2006, the indictment said, Strayer directed the publisher to hire Earle as a $60,000-a-year consultant “despite Earle’s lack of relevant qualifications” for the job.
“Shortly thereafter, Strayer began a romantic relationship with her and directed that the publisher later increase her consulting fees,” the Justice Department said in information released by the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland after the 13-count indictment was returned May 16.
Over time, Earle’s role broadened, and she was allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars to acquire articles for SciDAC Review, even though the actual articles were provided free of charge by Oak Ridge and DOE’s other national labs — at the direction of Strayer, according to the criminal charges.
A recently appointed top administrator of Tennessee’s multimillion-dollar employment security system was under indictment in Ohio in a mortgage fraud case at the time of his appointment last month, according to the Tennessean. Turner Nashe Jr., 37, of Brentwood, was charged in the May 2010 indictment with money laundering, theft and several counts of aiding and abetting an unlicensed loan broker who submitted falsified loan applications. The co-defendant worked for Nashe’s company, Trident Financial. The charges against Nashe were “dismissed without prejudice” on Nov. 29.
Maria Russo, a spokeswoman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, said the investigation is continuing and that the dismissal without prejudice does not preclude future action against Nashe. Nashe was one of dozens indicted in what has been billed by Ohio officials as the largest mortgage fraud case in the country.
Jeff Hentschel, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said in an email response to questions that prosecutors dropped the charges “after a thorough examination of the facts, including complete inspection of records and financial statements, both business and personal.”
…In defense of Nashe, Hentschel said, “In the court of public opinion, it is unfortunate when someone is accused of something and the charges are dismissed that people tend to remember the accusation instead of the result of the findings.
“Here we have an individual who was extremely business savvy and owned a mortgage lending company that was working with millions of dollars each year. The authorities conducted a complete investigation of Nashe’s business activities and records and found nothing inappropriate,” he added.
Nashe, who received a master’s and doctorate degree at Tennessee State University, formed two companies since moving to Nashville. Earlier this year he filed for bankruptcy in federal court and listed his occupation as “unemployed.”
News relese from state Department of Revenue:
Clinton, Tenn. – The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department
of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and surrender
of Jerry Lee Hatmaker, age 64, of Knoxville, Tenn. On Dec. 14, 2011, Hatmaker
surrendered to authorities at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Bond was
set at $25,000.
On Dec. 12, 2011, the Anderson County Grand Jury returned a 4 count indictment
for Evasion of Sales Tax in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440, a
Class E felony. Hatmaker was also indicted on one count of Filing a False
Report, one count of Perjury, and one count of Forgery. The indictment charges
that Hatmaker obstructed the State in the collection of sales tax by falsifying
records relating to his purchase of a boat, resulting in underreported sales tax
“The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating
taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability
when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity,” said Revenue Commissioner Richard
H. Roberts. “This indictment underscores the department’s ongoing efforts to
enforce Tennessee’s tax laws.”
Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation
with District Attorney General Dave Clark’s office. Citizens who suspect
violations of Tennessee’s revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot
line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).
In addition to collecting state taxes, $2.0 billion of local sales and business
taxes were collected by the department for local governments during the 2011
fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws
fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance.
The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the
various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the
department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.
A federal grand jury has indicted the owners of a Knoxville company that has received $37 million in state contracts since 2002, reports The Tennessean. It’s the second federal case this year that alleges corrupt activity between Tennessee Department of Transportation employees and contractors. The indictment alleges that Kevin Eugene Peel, vice president of Knoxville-based Tennessee Guardrail, and Allen Roy DeFoe, founder of the company, destroyed records requested by a federal grand jury in Nashville in 2006. The four-count indictment charges the two with conspiracy to obstruct; corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of justice; destruction of records with intent to obstruct an official proceeding; and destruction of records with intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
A federal task force was created in 2004 to investigate whether contractors were violating antitrust laws in bidding on contracts let by TDOT…. By 2006, the task force was investigating the circumstances surrounding the awarding of contracts to Tennessee Guardrail and the activities of an unnamed TDOT employee who oversaw the company’s contracts, according to the indictment.
In May 2006 a subpoena was sent to Tennessee Guardrail requesting financial records including records of the payment for meals; lodging; activities such as hunting, fishing and golfing; tickets to sporting events, concerts and other entertainment; gifts; and “anything of value obtained for or transferred for the direct or indirect benefit of any employee or former employee of” TDOT or other government agencies. The subpoena also requested records “used to work up any bid that was submitted to” TDOT.
The indictment alleges that, after receiving the subpoena, Peel and DeFoe took numerous boxes of documents to a commercial document-shredding business and had them destroyed.
Tennessee Guardrail has received 24 TDOT contracts totaling $37 million since 2002, according to the department, and has one active $2.3 million contract to repair guardrails in the Knoxville area.