NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say the owner of a company hired to purchase land for state road projects must repay more than $500,000 to the Tennessee Department of Transportation after admitting to embezzlement.
Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Jim Runkle said in an affidavit that 53-year-old Michael Wayne Young, president of Brentwood-based Capitol Consultants Inc., told investigators he was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by taking state money from 2004 to 2011 originally intended for buying property for roads.
Young has been a TDOT right of way division consultant/contractor for 19 years. Investigators determined that money given to Young within the past year was used to buy land that it was not intended for.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Phillips told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/RQWG7n ) that any criminal prosecution of Young is pending.
The Republican primary race in state House District 65, an open seat in western Williamson County created by redistricting, took a dramatic turn as candidate Kenny Young featured opponent Jeremy Durham’s arrest record in a series of mailings, according to the Williamson Herald.
“I think the voters of the 65th District deserve to know the truth about each of the candidates’ past,” said Young’s campaign manager Jordan Woodruff of Brentwood.
Durham said “college shenanigans” shouldn’t take center stage when more important issues are at stake.
“I regret that my opponent has chosen to run a negative campaign, but we choose to remain positive and continue our message of cutting red tape on small businesses, getting spending under control and improving our education system,” said Durham in a written statement.
“I hope my opponents will join me and commit to discussing the real issues facing District 65 and not college shenanigans,” he said.
“We believe,” said Young, “this information is relevant. We believe that the voters deserve to have as much information about the candidates they can get so they can make their own decisions. And this is relevant considering my opponent, Mr. Durham, just moved into Williamson County 13 months ago and appointed his campaign treasurer while still living in Nashville.”
Last week, Young’s campaign released a mailer featuring Durham’s arrest records headlined as “Arrested Development” with jail bars laid over a photo of Durham. The mailer called Durham “a young man with a long record.”
It pointed out an arrest by University of Tennessee Knoxville police in 2003 for vandalism, theft, and aggravated burglary.
…Durham did not deny the arrests – but said he was not convicted as the case was otherwise resolved.
“When I was a teenager in college, several college students stole items from our fraternity house,” he explained in an e-mailed statement. “We responded by taking some of their items, and I was caught pulling a college prank. While it is true that I was taken into custody, all charges were then dropped.”
Young’s mailer also pointed to a 2006 arrest for driving with a suspended license citing a Germantown, Tenn. case.
Durham added, “As to the other false allegation, I was ticketed by a red light camera and the ticket was mailed to my parents’ home while I was living at college. The ticket went unpaid because I was unaware of it and my license was suspended. As soon as I was made aware of the ticket, I paid the fine.”
Young’s mailer continues with, “How can we trust Jeremy Durham to make the law when he keeps breaking the law?” Young’s campaign released more details of the arrests in another mailer that hit Franklin mailboxes Monday.
Featuring photos of fingerprints and another photo of Durham with bars added over his picture, the new mailer said “Jeremy Durham has left his mark at the jailhouse … Can you trust him to leave his mark at the State House?”
A group of Young Republicans from Vanderbilt University went to the Legislative Plaza Thursday to protest the Occupy Nashvile protesters, more or less. An excerpt from Jeff Woods’ report on the ensuing events:
A shouting, sign-waving band of Vanderbilt young Republicans marched onto the Legislative Plaza tonight. If the students expected a belligerent response, they were surprised. “We Love You!” Occupy Nashville chanted.
Undeterred by their warm welcome, the Republicans held their signs aloft and screamed, “Occupy the White House! Fire Obama!” But after only a few minutes, they were smiling, shaking hands and chatting amiably with their fellow demonstrators at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. The GOP club president, Stephen Siao, even was invited to address the crowd through the People’s Microphone.
“The things you are demanding are unrealistic and will do absolutely nothing but add to the burgeoning debt that’s on each of our shoulders. You should be protesting at the White House, not Wall Street or the Tennessee Capitol,” Siao said as the occupiers expressed their disapproval by lowering their hands and wiggling their fingers.
Occupy Nashville was ready for the young Republicans because they advertised their counter-protest in the media yesterday. There were a couple dozen Republicans and maybe 100 occupiers. Cookies reportedly were baked for tonight’s visitors, but we never saw any. Maybe the hungry Wall Street protesters ate them before the Republicans appeared.
See also The Tennessean, which begins its report: Everything happened just the way Occupy Nashville protesters said it would. And TNReport has coverage including video.