The Tennessee Star’s Investigative Reporter Corinne Murdock Uncovers the Truth in Ovid Timothy Hughes Story

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the Star News Network’s Investigative Reporter Corinne Murdock to the studio to discuss her finding on since resigned COB member Ovid Timothy Hughes.

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The Tennessee Star’s Investigative Reporter Corinne Murdock Talks Follow up Questions to Metro Officials About COB Vetting Process

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the Tennessee Star’s investigative reporter Corinne Murdock on her follow-up questions to Metro officials and what responses she has received regarding the vetting of the Community Oversight Board’s potential committee members.

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The Tennessee Star’s Own Corinne Murdock Unable to Verify Previous Background Claims of COB’s Executive Director Fitcheard

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star investigative reporter Corinne Murdock to the studio to discuss the lack of background information of Executive Director Jill Fitcheard of the Community Oversight Board.

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Vice Mayor Shulman Says Metro Council Will Revisit Verification Process for Community Oversight Board Members

Metro Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) members aren’t vetted prior to appointment – officials say they’re taken at their word. However, the shakiness of this method was exposed/ proved unreliable after The Tennessee Star discovered that recently-resigned member Ovid Timothy Hughes isn’t a registered voter, as he’d claimed and as was required of him by law. Hughes is a convicted felon, tried and charged in 2008 for mail fraud. He racked up over $78,000 of fraudulent charges against a previous employer using stolen credit card and account information. 

Nashville Vice Mayor Jim Shulman spoke with The Star about this revelation. He assured us that they would be taking extra steps in the future to verify all COB applicants’ voting eligibility.

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Convicted Felon Ovid Timothy Hughes Told Metro Council Members He Was a Registered Voter

Prior to his acceptance by Metro City Council members to serve on the Community Oversight Board (COB), Ovid Timothy Hughes asserted he was, in fact, a registered voter.

But records show that as a convicted felon, Tennessee law would have prevented Hughes from legally voting in any election without either obtaining an outright pardon from the sitting governor or successfully petitioning a court to expunge his criminal record.

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Executive Director of Community Oversight Board Not Responding to Questions About Vetting Board Members

Not all members of the Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) have been entirely truthful with the public they serve – or the police they’re entrusted to hold accountable. Over the weekend, The Tennessee Star uncovered information that a recently-resigned member of the COB, Ovid Timothy Hughes, may have misled officials about his voting status in order to be appointed. COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard hasn’t responded to The Star about why he wasn’t vetted prior to his appointment.

The COB is tasked with investigating police misconduct allegations, as well as issuing reports and recommendations based on research of misconduct, public safety, and the administration of justice. Those responsibilities necessitate a series of requirements for membership. Individuals must be registered voters in Davidson County; residents of the county for at least one year; and be nominated by a community organization, a petition of at least 50 county residents, or at least one Metro City Council member. Members can’t be current law enforcement members or have been one in the last five years, elected officials, or the spouse of any of the former. Members must also agree to continuous trainings in areas such as civil rights, equity, criminal justice, policing practices, cultural diversity, sexual harassment awareness. However, it is unclear if members are vetted prior to their appointment.

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Resigned Community Oversight Board Member Is a Convicted Felon, Not Registered Voter as Required by Tennessee Law

Previous Community Oversight Board (COB) member Ovid Timothy Hughes somehow skirted the Tennessee Code’s standards for COB membership. Hughes isn’t a registered voter – he’s a convicted felon. That begs the question: the COB’s purpose is to ensure police accountability on issues such as misconduct, but what happens when the members themselves aren’t being held accountable?

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office confirmed with The Tennessee Star that Hughes isn’t an eligible voter. They explained that he was purged in 2008 for a felony conviction. This corroborates with details The Star reported on Friday. Hughes was arrested and charged for mail fraud, spending over $78,000 on items such as computer equipment and designer clothing using stolen credit card and private account information from a former employer.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board Member Who Resigned Unexpectedly Has Lengthy Criminal Record

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.

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