Former State Rep. Joe Carr, currently running for Rutherford County mayor, disclosed that certain people accused him of harassment while he worked at a state agency, but he described the allegations as “a big nothingburger.”
Carr addressed these allegations in a nearly 1,200 word post on Facebook Tuesday.
“I got wind that there was some kind of harassment allegation in my file. About three or four weeks ago I contacted DOHR [the Tennessee Department of Human Resources] and said I want everything in my personnel file that is subject to a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request. They sent it to me. What they sent me was what I posted on Facebook. The reason I posted it is I got a call yesterday and basically the call said ‘I am hearing you had a harassment complaint filed against you.’ I said ‘Really?’ I decided I ain’t putting up with this,” Carr told The Tennessee Star Wednesday.
“I am going to run an open, honest, and transparent campaign. If I get elected mayor that is how I am going to run. Whatever is in there the voters can see, and they can decide for themselves. I released it, verbatim, and tried to offer some context and a bit of explanation where I thought it was warranted. In politics you have political enemies, and your political enemies like to exploit those things to your advantage. I am not going to give my enemies any chance to do that.”
Carr served as assistant commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation shortly after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee took office in 2019.
Carr told The Star the allegations originate out of Rutherford County, but he did not elaborate.
“My campaign threatens those who have in the past pinned their political ambitions on running negative campaigns,” Carr told The Star.
“Some of the accusations I corroborated. I am not deflecting or blaming somebody else. I am not doing any of that. In the places where they are corroborated I give an explanation. In the places where they are not corroborated it’s obviously a fabrication of some type. What their motives were for the complaints I have no idea and it really doesn’t matter.”
In his Facebook post, Carr said one woman complained when he allegedly told her she had a pretty smile.
“I don’t recall saying so, but it sure isn’t out of character for me. If you know me, there’s a 99 percent chance I’ve paid you a similar compliment,” Carr wrote on Facebook.
“If not, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to do so next time I see you. Yawn.”
Another state employee alleged Carr told her she was cute and that he also dismissed the #MeToo movement.
“Nice try, but pretty amateur, and you showed your hand to be politically motivated,” Carr wrote.
Another state employee complained when Carr allegedly referred to one of his older cars as “a babe magnet.”
“No evidence of this claim was ever found. That said, I will confess, there is some evidence. While I don’t know if it’s the same car that ‘anonymous’ is referencing in their claim, I did indeed have a babe magnet of a car,” Carr wrote.
“In fact, it was so effective that my wife of 38 years, mother to my three kids, and grandma to my two grandchildren, Ginny- ASKED ME OUT on our first date. We were married 9 months later.”
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