Up until last week Ovid Timothy Hughes was a member of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB), dedicated to enforcing police accountability. However, Hughes wasn’t your typical concerned citizen on the COB – he has a lengthy criminal history himself.
Between 2001 and 2002, Hughes racked up several felony charges for burglary. He was sentenced to two years in the private prison Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic, and two years’ probation. Then in 2008, Hughes was arrested and charged for mail fraud. Hughes had reportedly stolen credit card and private account information from his previous employer. From 2006 to 2007, Hughes used the information to spend over $78,000 on items such as computer equipment and designer clothing.
According to a now-archived press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Hughes was sentenced to a year in prison by District Judge Aleta Trauger. Court records revealed that his appeal of the judgment was denied. Additionally, court records revealed further that Trauger placed an order against Hughes in 2012 for parole reports of “noncompliance [with] conditions of supervised release.”
In a reply submitted underneath a blog post discussing his conviction, Hughes said his employer had treated him and other employees unfairly through practices such as overtime without pay. Hughes also alleged the company failed to afford him and others their severance packages and continued health benefits after they’d been laid off.
For those reasons, Hughes stated that although he was in the wrong for his actions, they weren’t entirely irrational after everything he’d endured from his employer.
“I’m not saying that my actions were defensible – but I’m not the Bennie [sic] Madoff-esque individual you describe in your article. Not innocent, sir. But not a sociopath who ‘believe[s] that theft from their company is somehow O.K.!’,” wrote Hughes. “I demonstrated by virtue of my work ethic and the awards and promotions I received [given] the opportunity, I was capable of serving my company with absolute commitment – even excellence.”
Hughes didn’t respond to request for comment from The Tennessee Star by press time.
Hughes has been an active member within the activist community. In addition to serving the COB for about a year, Hughes states on his Facebook page that he is the Statewide Coordinator for Black Voters Matter and the Senior Project Manager for The Equity Alliance. Most recently, Hughes was accepted into a leadership institute with STAND UP Nashville, a community-based social justice activism organization. Less than a week later, the city council announced his resignation. The reason for Hughes’ resignation wasn’t given.
Hughes was appointed to the COB last year – he was reportedly the top vote-getter. His term was set to expire in 2023. Now the COB is short one member, less than a month after appointing four new members. Vice Mayor Jim Shulman issued an announcement regarding the vacancy on Wednesday.
Only registered voters who are nominated by a community organization or a petition with 50 or more signatures are eligible to serve the COB. The application deadline is April 6, and the Metro Nashville City Council will hold the election on April 20.
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