$7 Million Federal Funding Scandal Hits Metro Nashville Administrations of David Briley, Megan Barry, and Karl Dean

US Capitol

A WSMV investigation revealed on Friday that $7 million in federal flood relief funds provided to the Metro Nashville Government in 2010 were not used for flood relief at all, but were instead used to build the Ascend Amphitheater downtown. The stunning revelation rocked the special mayoral election, and cast doubt on fiscal management and legal compliance with federal funding rules on the administrations of former Mayor Karl Dean, former Mayor Megan Barry, and Acting Mayor David Briley, who is a candidate in the May 24 special mayoral election. “Nashville got $10 million from HUD’s Disaster Recovery Fund to start and received another $22 million in a second appropriation from HUD in 2011,” after the 2010 Nashville floods,” WSMV reported, adding: Our News4 I-Team investigation discovered that one-third of that $22 million – $7.4 million – never went to flooded homeowners. It was used to design Ascend Amphitheater, a downtown concert venue. “Rich Riebeling was the city’s finance director at the time; he’s now Metro’s Chief Operating Officer. The News4 I-Team asked him who decided to use the money for the amphitheater,” the WSMV report continued: “I don’t recall it,” Riebeling said. “I think it was a group decision. I’m…

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Mayoral Candidate Carol Swain Calls For Immediate Resignation of Metro Nashville Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling After $7 Million Funding Scandal

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…

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CNN’s Reliable Sources: Brian Stelter Interviews Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill

Brian Shelter Interviews Steve Gill

CNN’s Brian Stelter interviewed Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill in Thursday’s edition of the network’s Reliable Sources podcast about the recent national interest in The Star and its reporting on state and local news. “Steve Gill, co-founder of The Tennessee Star website, tells Brian Stelter about his local coverage with a conservative bent. Are sites like his filling a void left by local newspapers? Gill says he is “filling a void” in the marketplace, citing “flaming” liberal bias from other outlets. Stelter says these local sites are another sign that the U.S. is reverting back to a more partisan press,” CNN said in its promotion of Stelter’s interview. “This weekly podcast is our chance to go in depth with media leaders and newsmakers, a chance to highlight some of the stories that might otherwise get lost amid the absolutely crushing news cycle that we’re all experiencing” CNN’s Stelter explained. “This week I wanted to highlight a story in Politico by author Jason Schwartz. The headline is ‘Baby Breitbarts to pop up across the country?” It’s a really interesting story about what Schwartz says is a growing trend of ‘opaque, locally focused, ideological outlets dressed up as traditional newspapers.’ He…

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Early Voting Begins Today in Nashville’s Special Mayoral Election

Early voting in Nashville’s special mayoral election began today, just three days after residents of Nashville/Davidson County went to the polls and defeated the $9 billion Nashville transit plan, 64 percent to 36 percent. Taxpayers will spend an extra $2 million on the May 24 special mayoral election, thanks to the ill advised and legally unsound decision made by the Davidson County Election Commission to schedule the election for a later date, rather than follow the law, as The Tennessee Supreme Court later told them to do in a landmark legal decision last month. The legal and common sense decision that the Davidson County Election Commission rejected would have scheduled both the transit plan referendum and the special mayoral election for the same day, May 1. Residents of Nashville/Davidson County can early vote beginning today, and continuing until Saturday, May 19, as News Channel 5 reported: Right now, you can only vote at the Howard Office Building in downtown Nashville. Hours vary but it opens at 8 a.m. every weekday. All early polling locations will open next Friday, May 11. WSMV offered this guide to early voting: The following locations will be open for voting starting Friday, May 11: Belle…

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Attorney Who Won Special Mayoral Election Case: Head of Davidson County Election Commission Who ‘Set Fire to $2 Million of Taxpayer Money’ Should Resign

Jamie Hollin, the attorney who represented plaintiff Ludye Wallace in the historic mayoral special election date case the Tennessee Supreme Court decided unanimously in his client’s favor last month, is calling on Jim DeLanis, Chairman of the Davidson County Election Commission to resign  for causing the Metro Nashville/Davidson County Government to spend an extra $2 million on the May 24 special mayoral election. Hollin appeared at Monday’s meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting  of the Nashville/Davidson County Metro Council. When the Committee Chairman, Council Member Tanaka Vercher, opened up discussion of a resolution to appropriate $2 million for the special mayoral election on May 24, Council Member Glover asked how it came to be that the city was spending an extra $2 million on a second election just three weeks and two days after more than 120,000 voters turned up to vote in the May 1 Nashville transit plan referendum, which was defeated by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin. At around the 53:00 mark in the video of the Budget and Finance Committee meeting (which can be seen and heard in the video clip below), Committee Chair Tanaka Vercher asked Hollin to express his views on the…

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Iowa and Texas Anti-Sanctuary City Laws Are Strong Precedent for Haslam to Sign New Tennessee Legislation

Bill Haslam

Governor Bill Haslam should look to Texas, Iowa and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to support signing Tennessee’s new anti-sanctuary city legislation which passed 64-23 in the House and 25-5 in the Senate. The Texas sanctuary city law signed last year, is the strictest in the country and more extensive than the Tennessee bill. In March, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed all but one part of the Texas law to go into effect. Most importantly for Governor Haslam’s consideration, the provisions in the Texas law requiring local law enforcement to comply with ICE detainers, was upheld by the court. The only part of the Texas law blocked by the court was prohibiting public officials from endorsing sanctuary city policies, a provision not included in the Tennessee bill. The Texas law includes criminal penalties for refusing to comply with an ICE detainer request. Tennessee’s bill does not include any criminal sanctions. In ruling to uphold the Texas law on compliance with ICE detainer requests, the Court effectively dismissed the same Fourth Amendment arguments being put forth by the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) against the Tennessee bill. Citing to an earlier…

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Commentary: New Study Shows Trump is Right, Gun Free Zones Make Schools More Dangerous

by CHQ Staff Our friend Christopher Hull, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, of the Center for Security Policy just shared an eye-opening study with us, that demolishes the liberal shibboleth that “gun free zones” make schools safer. You can read the entire study through this link, and it is well worth the time. Gun Free Zones ChartHull’s study confirms the argument President Trump made after Parkland that a gun-free zone “is like target practice” for school shooters such as the alleged Florida killer, Nikolas Cruz. “They see that and that’s what they want,” said the President. “Gun-free zones are very dangerous. The bad guys love gun-free zones.” Hull reminds us the next day Trump pointed out to a room full of Governors at the White House, “You have a gun-free zone, it’s like an invitation for these very sick people to go there.” Naturally, the Left and squishy Republicans went nuts, but Dr. Hull’s study supports President Trump’s position. Hull crunched the numbers on school shootings per year, number killed per year, and number wounded per year for the period 1968-1990, before the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) was signed into law, and after it was put in place (1991-2018). In…

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Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, and Scott DesJarlais Nominate Donald Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) and fifteen additional Republican members of Congress nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday. Black broke the news first with this tweet: Moments ago, Rep. Diane Black released her and several other members of Congress’s nomination of President Donald J. Trump to the Nobel committee for the Nobel Peace Prize. pic.twitter.com/edlwU7TAlS — Fox News (@FoxNews) May 2, 2018   In a letter addressed to the Honorable Berit Reiss-Anderson, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo Norway, dated May 2, Black, Blackburn and their Republican House colleagues made their case why President Trump deserves the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize: Since taking office, President Trump has worked tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons program and bring peace to the region. His Administration successfully united the international community, including China, to impose one of the most successful international sanction regimes in history. The sanctions have decimated the North Korea economy and have been largely credited for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table. Black, Blackburn, and DesJarlais were joined as signators on the letter by fifteen other  Republican members of…

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Memphis Democrat Tami Sawyer Uses Elite and Expensive Education to Push Radical Socialist Platform

Tami Sawyer, winner of the Democratic primary to represent District 7 on the Shelby County Commission, is not only a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement and a #TakeEmDown901 statue destroyer, she is also a graduate of St. Mary’s Episcopal elite and expensive all-girls private school in Memphis. Tuition at the private school for the 2018 school year starts at $16,300 for kindergarten and increases to $21,660 for the senior year in high school. The base cost does not include fees for snacks, technology, facilities and some textbooks. After graduating from St. Mary’s in 2000, Sawyer continued her elite private school education at the private, historically black Hampton University, with tuition, board and fees totaling over $36,000 a year for 2018. Sawyer left Hampton University after two years, finished up her degree at University of Memphis and moved to Washington, D.C. to attend the historically black Howard University Law School. The cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses to attend  Howard Law School in 2014 was $60,240. There is no indication that Sawyer completed her law degree and no listing was found under her name in the public attorney directory maintained by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. Sawyer describes…

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