Mayoral candidate Carol Swain called for the immediate resignation of Metro Nashville Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling on Friday.
Earlier in the day, WSMV broke the story that Metro Nashville Government used $7 million in federal funding received in 2010 and 2011 that was supposed to be dedicated to flood relief to build the Ascend Amphitheater. Riebeling was the finance director for Metro Nashville at the time.
“The voters of Davidson County are tired of broken promises, underfunded schools, and cronyism that rewards those at the top. Riebeling has been in Metro government since 2007 and served as finance director under Karl Dean and COO under Megan Barry and David Briley,” the Swain campaign said in a statement released late Friday.
“For too long Metro government has been squandering the taxpayer funds of hard working Nashvillians,” Swain said in the statement.
“Today’s revelation of the misappropriation of federal HUD flood relief funds is just another example of the corruption that is plaguing City Hall and the rest of Metropolitan government. As finance director of the city, Reibeling was either complicit in this act or ignorant of it. He can delegate authority, but he cannot delegate responsibility,” she continued.
“Riebeling has said that he’s ‘committed to doing what’s right for the city,’ but it is clear that this is not the case,” the former Vanderbilt professor added.
Swain then called out her rival in the May 24 special mayoral election, Acting Mayor David Briley, to fire Riebeling or face the electoral consequences.
“When asked about Riebeling’s place in his administration, Mayor Briley has said he is ‘committed to continuity.’ This statement is a damning indictment of his ability to lead the city forward,” Swain said of the man who has served as acting mayor since March 6, when former Mayor Megan Barry resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to a felony earlier that day.
This is not the first time that Riebeling has been at the center of a scandal involving fiscal mismanagement.
During the Megan Barry fiasco, it was revealed that Riebeling was the Metro official who authorized Barry’s Chief of Staff, Debbie Mason, to approve Sergeant Rob Forrest’s travel requests, while she appeared within the accounting and information system to the next approver to be someone else–specifically, Police Chief Anderson.