After Bombshell Revelations, Nashville Mayor John Cooper Accused of Suppressing COVID-19 Data and Destroying Livelihoods


Nashville Mayor John Cooper and members of his administration weren’t straightforward enough with their COVID-19 data and, in effect, hurt local businesses and justified fears that government officials would abuse their power during this long emergency.

This, according to Beacon Center of Tennessee spokesman Mark Cunningham. Cunningham responded to a FOX 17 of Nashville report that suggested Cooper and his staff members kept secret the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases coming out of the bars and restaurants in the city’s lower Broadway area.

Beacon is a Nashville-based right-of-center think tank.

Cunningham told The Tennessee Star Thursday that, with this news, every bar in the city should open back up.

“The issue is that the data had showed very few cases from bars, and he knew that and he shut them down anyway. That’s the bombshell. He [Cooper] knew that there wasn’t an issue with the bars, yet he shut them down,” Cunningham said.

“Science only seems to follow the CDC recommendations when it fits his preconceived agenda, and he’s just had this vendetta against bars. Despite the contrary evidence, he basically has cost business owners, performers, and employees of their livelihoods with numbers that were contradictory to what he was saying publicly.”

FOX 17 reported this week that Cooper’s senior advisor and Metro Health Department staff members discussed, in emails, how to handle the low number of COVID-19 cases emerging from bars and restaurants.

“On June 30th, contact tracing was given a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes were found to be causing problems with more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases,” the station reported.

The station quoted health department employee Leslie Waller asking in one email “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

Cooper Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles, responding to Waller, said “Correct, not for public consumption.”

The station went on to report that other media asked Metro officials about a rumor that they had traced only 80 cases back to bars and restaurants and whether such businesses really jeopardized health and safety.

According to FOX 17, an unidentified official, in an email, said the following:

“My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”

The station went on to say that a Metro staff attorney verified that the emails were real but that Cooper’s staff would not verify their authenticity. They instead directed FOX 17 staff to submit an open records request to confirm this on their own.

Responding to the report, Cooper spokesman Chris Song published a press release Thursday that blasted FOX 17. He said the station published “limited information and without context” to “falsely accuse the Mayor’s office and the Metro Public Health Department of withholding public health data.”

On Thursday U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) told Cooper in a letter that “Tennesseans deserve transparency.”

“They deserve to know the truth, not cherry-picked data to support a certain set of policy outcomes,” Green wrote.

Green also asked Cooper who made the call to conceal these statistics and what he knew about it.

“When government leaders make weighty decisions that threaten to drive businesses into permanent closure, they need to be honest about the data behind such choices,” Green wrote.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the Nashville city government chose to suppress information that contradicted the official narrative concerning restrictions on bars and restaurants.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “John Cooper” by









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26 Thoughts to “After Bombshell Revelations, Nashville Mayor John Cooper Accused of Suppressing COVID-19 Data and Destroying Livelihoods”

  1. Ned. T.

    It is unbelievable how hateful and arrogant Mini Cooper is to achieve political goals. I am sure his brother Jim Cooper and the DNC were calling the shots.

    The creep should be tarred and feathered, then banished for life from Nashville.

  2. Michael

    Politicians haven’t been tarred and feathered in a while and it shows.

  3. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    Yes, we are going to turn Nashville into a large hospital/no income housing development.

  4. John Reynolds

    I haven’t seen this addressed, but did the Metro attorneys mislead the court to keep the bars and restaurants shut down? If they committed a fraud upon the court to get the ruling they wanted, that is a felony. If city officials told them to do so, they are guilty, too.

  5. Gary Epling

    Mini Cooper is a bigger embarrassment to Nashville than Bill Boner ever was and that’s saying something! Impeach, then LOCK HIM UP!

  6. Resign Mayor Cooper

    Dear Mayor instead of telling the People of Nashville I am sorry how about saying “ I QUIT”. You are disgrace to the office and to the city.

  7. Martha Brown

    The real questions are: Why the vendetta against bars? and Why was the construction industry exempted? Those questions are what need to be answered?

    1. Ned T.

      Many bar owners on Broadway are conservative and do not have deep pockets. Construction projects have deep pockets and likely bribed Mini Cooper and his brother, Jim Cooper. They have a long history of chumminess with the construction industry.

  8. james bellar

    what is wrong with the candidates and voters in nashville. ? if it has to be a democrat are there no more phil bredesens or richard fultons?

    1. John

      Yes there was Carol Swain not once but twice . Nashville got exactly what it voted for tax and spend liberal liars.

  9. Ed

    Hopefully there is a law suit and/or criminal complaint in Cooper’s future.

  10. Fireguyr

    Vice Mayor Jim Schulman – come on down! It’s your day on “Make Nashville Right!”

  11. John

    The letter is address to the Honorable John Cooper. This POS is anything but honorable.

  12. Beatrice Shaw

    Much ado about nothing. He SAVED lives. Nothing else matters.

    1. Ned T

      Wrong. He RUINED lives, and the lockdown caused far more deaths than CV. The missed MD appointments, suicides, overdoses, and domestic violence SOARED while Herr Cooper played politics.

    2. Ed

      WTF are you talking about nothing else matters .

    3. Quit drinking the liberal kool-aid

      Oh really!!! Tell that to the people who livelihood ended with loss of job, no money and no home. So you agree with the destruction of downtown cause by the Mayor when he call the no mask protest peaceful.

  13. Boyd

    Why does Nashville vote for Democrats?

  14. Kevin

    Between Jim and John Cooper, who is the “little” brother? Or is it “little-er” brother?

    In any event, John will be looking for and probably get Federal “air cover” from his brother Jim. It’s how flea bags, especially related ones, operate. If we want to fix Nashville, we need to flush both Cooper’s and most of the City Council down the Cumberland River!

    God said he’d never destroy the Earth with water again. Well, I don’t recall him saying the multiple uses of water to clean up a local problem was off the table!

    Recall and replace Mayor John Cooper!

  15. Julie

    Cooper and the leftists in his administration went after the money-maker for Nashville, our tourism and convention industry. They did this in an attempt to hurt the economy and therefore hurt Trump. And where is the health department? They need to explain why they participated in this fraud and what they intend to do to earn back the public’s trust (maybe an internal accountability mechanism?). Where is Dr. Jahangir and Dr. Hildreth? Do either of these two have any integrity? We are left to assume they are nothing but shills for Cooper. Meanwhile on Twitter this morning Mayor Cooper says Phil Williams is the best investigative reporter in town (assumedly because he is trying to defend Cooper and these emails).

  16. mikey whipwreck

    Cooper is the DeBlasio of the south

  17. Trevor

    Mayor Cooper should resign immediately! He and his staff should be held personally liable for harming business, and families that he has harmed by his actions to with hold information that is science driven. He should forfeit his mayoral salary like New York liberal Mayor Bill Deblasio. As a Nashville resident I have been embarrassed in front of my children trying to explain Megan Berry’s behavior and now John Cooper. It is hard to teach your children about moral behavior and now about adults that are not truthful. I think it is time to try a more conservative mayor since Nashville has never had one since Metro government was formed. Carol Swain would be a great choice, Dr Manny Sethi and others. John Cooper has attempted to destroy our great city! I have had enough of both John and Jim Cooper, and crony politics and carrying the democratic agenda to not open businesses! I always think about the families and peoples dreams that take a risk to open and operate a business. Please Nashville, let’s call for a recall of John Cooper and all the metro council people that voted for a 34% property tax increase. Please vote to repeal the 34% increase in December, Lets put conservatives in Metro council and Mayors office! What do we have to lose! Lets try it!

    1. james bellar

      nasville needs to cut its council members in half. no perks other than voter approved pay and no at large positions.

      too many chiefs and not enough whatevers.

  18. rick

    Cooper will meet his democratic goal and not open the bars and restaurants until after the election. He Has intentionally ruined the tourism and music business in Nashville and the lying crook is giving everyone the finger including the Governor. He and his brother Goober Jim are so sure Biden will be elected and comrade Cooper will be the prom Queen. Give him a choice today face federal charges or resign. It’s all politics and retribution for some of the bar owners law suit against the Mayor. Cooper is an arrogant POS.

  19. Randy

    It matters who governs

  20. You’re So Nashville If...

    …you miss the good ole days of Crooked Megan.