The chief of staff to Knox County Trustee John Duncan III and his office attorney pleaded guilty this morning in Criminal Court to facilitation of official misconduct, reports the News Sentinel Joshua A. Burnett, 32, and attorney Chadwick B. Tindell, 48, were both sentenced to 11 months, 29 days probation on the misdemeanor charge by Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Liebowitz.
Both will be eligible for judicial diversion.
Duncan’s status was not immediately available. His attorney, Jeff Hagood, was out of town and said he could not comment.
Burnett and Tindell both resigned from the Trustee’s Office, according to a statement this afternoon from Duncan.
Bill Curtis will become the office’s chief deputy, and resumes will be sought for the delinquent tax attorney position, according to the statement. Tindell will assist with pending matters.
Appearing with his attorney Tommy Hindman, Burnett agreed to cooperate in “any way requested” by prosecutors.
Hindman said the plea is connected to bonuses handed out by Duncan three months after he took office in September 2010.
It’s “a very unfortunate circumstance” and “he took some very bad advice,” Hindman said.
“He is pleased to have this matter concluded and looks forward to the opportunity to move on with his life.”
State Rep. Harry Tindell says state House District 13, which he has represented for 22 years, may be seen as a microcosm of the national presidential race when it comes to voters choosing his successor on Nov. 6.
Voters’ partisan options in the district are Democrat Gloria Johnson, a politically active school teacher, and Republican Gary Loe, a former television reporter who now runs a video production operation. Nick Cazana, a retired businessman, is on the ballot as an independent candidate.
“I don’t think anybody can tell you who is going to win,” said Tindell, a Democrat who has met with all three candidates while not declaring his support for any of them.
He basically agrees with The Tennessee Journal, a statewide political news publication, which rates the contest as a tossup between Loe and Johnson. The difficulty in political prophesy, Tindell said, rests in the fairly even balance between Republicans, Democrats and independent-minded voters — rather like the national presidential election picture and a striking contrast to most districts statewide.
While the nation has red states, blue states and swing states, Tindell said, District 13 has red precincts and blue precincts and swing precincts. The red precincts are in the south of the oddly shaped district designed by Republican-drafted redistricting earlier this year.
A key Democratic precinct in what has been state Rep. Harry Tindell’s 13th House District has been combined with another precinct by Knox County election officials and Democrats are not happy.
From Georgiana Vines: Gloria Johnson, chair of the Knox County Democratic Party and the only Democratic candidate seeking Tindell’s seat, said Belle Morris (Elementary School) was her precinct and she didn’t know the change (to Larry Cox Senior Recreation Center) was coming.
In addition, her campaign called 500 voters in the district a week ago and nobody knew the precinct had been changed, she said. She did receive a new voter registration card on Wednesday, she said.
It was included in a letter from the Knox County Election Commission notifying voters of a change in precinct, said Cliff Rodgers, elections administrator. Rodgers said he recommended Belle Morris be closed because the Cox Center is more handicapped accessible. When elections are held while school is in session, the disabled entrance at Belle Morris is locked and voters must be allowed in through the school office, he said.
State Rep. Harry Tindell will apparently vote for fellow Democrat Gloria Johnson as his successor in representing Knox County’s 13th House District, but he won’t flatly say so and says he won’t be actively campaigning for anyone.
“I don’t sell Gloria short at all. I’m just choosing not to try to push my will on voters. She’s got a lot of energy and ideas,” said Tindell explaining his official silence in an interview.
Tindell, who announced earlier this year that he won’t seek re-election to a 12th term in the state House, says he also knows the other candidates seeking to succeed him and “they all have some very positive traits.”
The others are Independent candidate Nick Cazana and Republicans Gary Loe and Vanderbilt Brabson, who are now engaged in a primary battle.
At another point Tindell said: “I am a Democrat and I vote Democrat,” but then added “I’ll make my decision in the voting booth.
“I don’t think people want to hear what I think, what I want,” he said. “It’s the voters’ decision, not retiring politicians.”
Tindell noted the Tennessee Journal has rated the 13th District as one of nine “tossup” races for the state House in November, meaning the political insider newsletter figures the seat could go either to Johnson, who is unopposed in the primary, or to the Republican nominee. Tindell said he shares that assessment.
“It’s a very mixed district,” he said of the area redrawn by the Legislature’s Republican majority earlier this year. “I think it’s going to be coin-flip close.”
The outcome, he said, will be based on “personality, work effort in campaigning, message and money.”
“The candidate who has three out of those four wins,” he said.
Earlier this year, Tindell had predicted multiple candidates would run for the seat, probably at least eight or nine, and was surprised only four filed.
He had an explanation for the relatively few candidates: “People have watched enough of the cable news networks on the problems of government and they don’t want to be part of it — particularly the ugliness of campaigns.”
State Rep. Harry Tindell, a Knoxville Democrat who’s retiring this year, received a General Assembly flag after the state House of Representatives passed a resolution describing him as a “dedicated and well-informed legislator” who worked “tirelessly” for his 13th District constituents, reports Georgiana Vines. It’s not any ordinary General Assembly flag.
The banner was designed by Sheila Adkins, a fellow Fulton High School classmate, in 1978 for a contest sponsored by the late Rep. Ted Ray Miller. Tindell represents Miller’s old district.
…(Rep. Joe) Armstrong gave the flag to Tindell (during a House floor ceremony). He also gave him a pair of cuff links.
Rep. Frank Niceley, a Republican from Strawberry Plains whose district has included parts of South and West Knoxville, was among those complimenting Tindell.
“He can kill your favorite bill and make you feel good about it,” Niceley said.
Tindell plans to join a friend in a government relations business after his legislative duties are over, he said Friday. He will work on projects and do business development, he said. He cannot do any work with or for the state of Tennessee for a year after he leaves office, which will be after the Nov. 6 election.
Georgiana Vines has a rundown on talk about running for two open state House seats in Knox County, one being new District 89 with no incumbent and the other being the District 13 seat to be vacated by Democratic Rep. Harry Tindell.
A common theme seems to be that prospective candidates still haven’t figured out for sure what district they’re in because they haven’t seen street level maps of the new boundaries. Two Republicans who ran for the state Legislature two years ago are considering a run for the new 89th District House seat in West Knox County created with the recent redistricting.
Gary Loe is a TV producer (who ran against state Rep. Steve Hall and lost) and Ron Leadbetter (who has run twice against Sen. Stacey Campfield) is a retired University of Tennessee associate general counsel.
Street-level maps showing exact district boundaries, however, still are unavailable to determine if they’re eligible.
Also, Former Knox County Commissioner Victoria DeFreese, who lost in a Republican primary special election for the Senate seat won by Becky Duncan Massey, is thinking about running for the seat being vacated by state Rep. Harry Tindell, a Democrat representing the 13th District.
On the other hand, Mark Padgett, who lost to Madeline Rogero in the recent Knoxville mayor’s race, says he’s not interested.
State Rep. Harry Tindell said today he will end his 22-year career in the state House rather than seek reelection to a seat that will require an intense, vigorous campaign after redistricting.
“It’s going to take a lot of work and long hours for campaigning, the fundraising,” said Democrat Tindell, 51. “I’m not sure I’m going to have the ability to do it all with all the commitments I’ve already made.’
The House District 13 seat that Tindell now holds was transformed by a Republican-drafted redistricting bill approved last week into what he described as ‘a coin-toss district.”
“I think it’s going to be the most competitive district in the state,” he said “I think people want two choices. I think all districts in the state should be this way.”
He predicted that multiple candidates will seek both the Republican and Democratic nominations to the seat in the August primary, though declining to name any of them. He predicted the winner in November will be decided by less than 300 votes.
From Georgiana Vines:
Democrat state Rep. Harry Tindell will not seek re-election in a redrawn 13th House District, supporters say, and Republican Marilyn Roddy, a former Knoxville City Council member who lost a state Senate race last year, may run for the new seat.
Under a redistricting plan presented by the Republican majority in the state Legislature last week, Tindell’s 13th District expands from the inner-city south to take in Sequoyah Hills and others areas in the 17th District now held by Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. Roddy lives in Sequoyah Hills.
Tindell said Friday since the Democratic caucus had suggested changes and the Legislature had not yet approved the plans, he had not made a decision about whether to run. (Note: After approval of the plan, Tindell said he’ll announce a decision no later than Thursday.)
“I want feedback from people in Knoxville who help me or who don’t help me. I will make a thoughtful decision. I do every two years anyway,” he said.
Roddy said Saturday she had “not sat down and considered it yet. I don’t have a statement yet.”
She attended the 2012 Regional Legislative Agenda put on by the Knoxville Chamber and two other chambers on Friday.
A state House redistricting plan was revised Thursday to eliminate two incumbent-versus-incumbent races that would have been mandated by the original version and to make minor changes in the Knox County district now held by Rep. Harry Tindell.
After the last-minute revisions, the House redistricting bill (HB1555) was approved on a somewhat bipartisan 66-25 voted with four abstentions. A congressional redistricting bill (HB1558) was similarly approved 68-25.
(Note: The revised state House map is HERE.)
The House and Senate both plan to meet today to complete work on redistricting. Plans call for the Senate to act first on its own redistricting bill (SB1514), which will then go to the House for approval. The Senate will then act on the House and congressional redistricting plans already approved by the House.
The Republican-drafted House redistricting plan, as written when unveiled last week, would have paired 12 incumbent representatives in six districts, forcing six races of incumbents running against one another.
The new version eliminates two pairings – Democratic Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones in Nashville and Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Savannah with Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Prospect in southern Middle Tennessee The other four pairings – three of Democrat-versus-Democrat matchups in Shelby County – remain.
Tentative plans for redrawing Knox County state House districts put state Rep. Frank Niceley outside the county, give Democratic Rep. Harry Tindell more Republican voters and create a new district without an incumbent.
The broad outline of the plan is dictated, in substantial part, by population figures and legal requirements, according to legislators involved in the process. Plans have not been made public and specific details on exactly where the lines are drawn within the county are a subject of continuing debate behind closed doors.
“Everything that has been worked out is preliminary,” said Rep. Ryan Haynes, a Knoxville Republican who chairs the Knox County legislative delegation. He said the delegation will meet “in a couple of weeks” for a general discussion of the plan.
Legislative leaders say statewide plans will not be made public until late this year, or possibly not until January. But the Knox County alignment has been widely discussed and the general dynamics within the county are fairly certain.
Based on the statewide population distribution as found by the 2010 U.S. Census, the ideal state House district should have a population of 64,102. Courts have held there can be no more than 10 percent population variance from the highest population district in the state to the lowest population district in legislative districts.
That means Knox County’s population, reported at 432,226 in the most current count, is appropriate for seven House districts that would be well within the required population variances.
The county now effectively has about six and a half House districts, with Niceley’s District 17 accounting for the half. The 17th District also currently includes a portion of Jefferson County.
Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, said in an interview that legislative leaders have told him the numbers involved virtually assure that he will no longer be representing any portion of Knox County after redistricting. Instead, his redrawn district will be extended from Jefferson County into a portion of Sevier County, which had a 2010 population of almost 90,000. The remainder of Sevier County would stay in District 12, now held by Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville.
“I hate to lose Knox County,” said Niceley, who said his roots in the county go back to his elementary school days. “If I thought somebody was doing that to me intentionally (for political reasons), I’d be mad about it. But because of the numbers, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, so you just take it and go on.”
Niceley said he intends to seek reelection to a new term from his revised district, though he will be a new face to most voters in the Sevier County portion of the new district.
Shuffling Democrats, Republicans.