Steve Bebb, who resigned effective today as district attorney general in southeast Tennessee while facing multiple allegations of misdeeds, tells the Cleveland Daily Banner that the criticism he faced was motivated by politics. And he names some politicians – starting with Gov. Bill Haslam, who Bebb says was among the first to urge him to run for office.
(Note: A number of politicians have been critical of Bebb, most recently Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Kelsey, who says Bebb’s case shows that Tennessee is a corrupt state in need of judicial reform. Post HERE.)
Excerpts from the Daily Banner article:
The decision for the early departure was no doubt in part due to the stress, distractions and angst Bebb has faced — while still trying to do his job as the area’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer — in knocking back one accusation after another from a Chattanooga newspaper and one state legislator in particular.
All formal complaints have been dismissed. Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. found no prosecutable violations. And, the state Senate let the recommendation for his removal from a state House oversight committee die, for lack of action.
Despite the move to remove him at the end, there was what he called “pressure” to go into the office to begin with eight years ago.
“The first two people to talk to me about running for DA were Bill [Haslam] and [Judge] Amy Reedy,” Bebb said. “At the time, I told them no.”
The discussions planted a seed, he said, but it was the desire to help law enforcement that spurred his final decision.
…There have been those successes and happy days, but the last 2 1/2 years of the battering from accusations and investigations have not been taken kindly by their subject.
“I’m trying not to be bitter,” Bebb said of all the problems over the last few years.
“It was politics, but it wasn’t Republican and Democratic politics,” Bebb said. “I had almost 1,500 letters, phone calls and emails from people who saw those stories in the Chattanooga Times Free Press — they were angry. It was not politics, and it didn’t start as politics.”
Bebb said he feels the problems all began because Duff Brumley [a former investigator] was fired from the Cleveland Police Department.
“He was fired for good reason. He violated state law. He violated Cleveland Police Department policies. It’s all in his personnel files. I read it,” he said.
Bebb alleged he also made a discovery from the files of former DAG Jerry Estes “… of their complaints with Brumley.”
…He said Brumley is related to state Sen. Mike Bell’s wife.
“So, Mike Bell and (state Rep.) Eric Watson go to the state attorney general, who is running scared because they want to get rid of him, and I’m with them on that. He’s a smart man, but he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to political pressure,” Bebb said.
He has no respect for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the writer who wrote the series of stories that led to the months of investigations.
… He said although he is trying, it is “… hard not to be bitter.”
(Note: The article above is second in a series on Bebb. The first, which basically chronicles his early life, is HERE.)