TBI Arrests 11 Convicted Felons for Allegedly Illegally Voting


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced the arrests of 11 convicted felons for voting in local elections in 2020 and 2022, and said that four deceased felons also voted in those elections. 

“In late January, at the request of 18th Judicial District Attorney General Ray Whitley, TBI agents began investigating reports of 15 convicted felons unlawfully voting in various Sumner County elections between 2020 and 2022,” according to a TBI press release. “Agents determined four of the felons were deceased prior to the investigation. Agents investigated the remaining 11 individuals, determining all had been convicted of at least one felony and registered to vote in Sumner County after their convictions, completing documents that included language regarding not having been convicted of a felony.”

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Sumner County Commissioners Pass Resolution Demanding School Board Follow State Law

At their January 23rd meeting, Sumner County Commissioners once again passed a resolution (Attachment Here) calling on the local school board to follow state law and ensure that the Sumner County School environment is free from obscene and provocative material. The resolution, similar to one passed in November, comes on the heels of the Sumner County School Board voting to keep the book “A Place Inside of Me” on its shelves.  

The book about a young Black boy who’s upset about a police shooting in his neighborhood includes a poem and illustrations showing a Black child navigating his emotions in the aftermath of a police shooting. Critics of the book felt that a book depicting police wielding billy clubs preparing to hit people is inappropriate for six-year-olds. The book’s defenders argued that for some, this is reality.

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Sumner County Commission Votes to Return Comer Barn to Rogers Group and $250,000 Grant to the State

At the regularly scheduled meeting on November 14, the Sumner County Board of Commissioners in an unprecedented move voted to return the Comer Barn to the Rogers Group and give back a $250,000 grant to the State of Tennessee.

The resolution rescinds all previous actions and resolutions accepting ownership of the Comer Barn, relinquishing previous deeds so that ownership and control is given back to the Rogers Group.

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Voters Overwhelmingly Choose Republicans and Conservative Ballot Measures in Sumner County

In Sumner County, voters overwhelmingly approved conservative ballot measures and chose Republicans in the November 8 state-level elections as well as many municipal general elections, even though the latter are non-partisan.

With a total of 52,879 votes cast of 130,654 registered voters, the turnout was 40 percent, according to the unofficial results posted by the Sumner County Election Commission.

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Tennessee Public Charter School Commission Rejects Founders Classical Applications in Williamson and Sumner Counties

Despite massive turnout in support of two Founders Classical Academy charter schools, the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission (TPCSC) has rejected the schools’ bids to open campuses in Williamson and Sumner counties.

“I think it is clear that this school has a lot of community support,” Tess Stovall, TPCSC’s executive director reportedly said. “However, that is not the only thing that one needs for a school to be successful.”

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Sumner, Rutherford County Sheriff Offices Warn of Scam Caller Falsely Claiming to Represent the Sheriff’s Office

The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to the public on Friday to be aware of an increase in scam calls impersonating the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Facebook, saying, “Recently there has been an increase in scam calls. When the calls are answered, the subject claims to be from the Sheriff’s Office and will even provide a name, in some cases they have used a third-party application, so the caller ID shows the Sheriff’s Office phone number. When you check the number, it appears to be from the Sheriff’s Office. The caller will request payment for bond or claim you missed jury duty and need to pay a fine to avoid being arrested.”

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The Tennessee Department of Environment Announces over $34 Million for Infrastructure Grants

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced on Tuesday that 12 grants totaling $34,585,121 from Tennessee’s American Rescue Plan, will be administered in the form of water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure grants.

“These grants will address important water infrastructure needs across our state, especially in disadvantaged communities. We commend communities who have gone through the application process, and we look forward to the substantial improvements the grant will bring,” said Governor Bill Lee.

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Newly Drawn House District 35 Republican Primary Includes a Former Registered Democrat and an Out-of-District Candidate

The Sumner and Trousdale County newly drawn Tennessee House District 35 Republican primary is a three-way race with one of the candidates being a registered Democrat in another state and another living out of the district.

The State House District 35 seat was held by conservative Republican Representative Jerry Sexton until the recent redistricting, which put Sexton in House District 10 currently held by Representative Rick Eldridge (R-Morristown). The new District 35 encompasses the portions of Sumner and Trousdale Counties that has been represented by Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster).

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Democrats Trying to Make Inroads in Republican-Controlled Sumner County

While every office in Sumner County in which a partisan election has been held is currently controlled by Republicans, Democrats are making a run at several seats during the 2022 election cycle.

On the August 4 combination ballot that includes the general election for county offices and a primary for state and federal offices, Democrats are vying for eight of the four dozen total seats electors will be voting on.

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With Water Development Resources Act, Rep. Rose Secures Water Infrastructure for Rural Tennessee Counties

Using a law that has been passed by Congress every two years since 2014, a congressman from Tennessee promoted water infrastructure for three rural Tennessee counties. 

“Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022, which includes language submitted by U.S. Representative John Rose to authorize environmental infrastructure projects in Trousdale, Macon, and Sumner counties and the cities of Carthage and Portland,” said a press release from Rep. John Rose (R-TN-06). “These projects will help these growing communities adapt their water infrastructure to meet the needs of increasing demand.”

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Metro Nashville Police Department Confirms Deputy Chief, Currently Running for Political Office, Under Two Internal Investigations

Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Deputy Chief Chris Taylor, who is currently running for political office, is under two separate internal investigations by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), the MNPD Public Affairs confirmed Thursday to The Tennessee Star.

The OPA is investigating a complaint received this year concerning Taylor wearing his uniform while off-duty in Sumner County as well as interaction with staff at the MNPD Training Academy, Public Affairs Director Don Aaron told The Star in an email.

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Sumner County Using Redistricting to Make Unprecedented Changes to County Commission Structure

Sumner County schools virtual meeting

The Sumner County Board of Commissioners is using redistricting required every 10 years following completion of the U.S. census in 2020 to potentially make significant and unprecedented changes to the county commission districts.

Sumner County currently has 12 county commission districts with two commissioners per district, but redistricting has opened the door to making 24 districts with one commissioner per district.

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Nashville Area’s Population Approaches Two Million People

The Nashville metropolitan area was the 20th-fastest growing statistical area in the country since 2010, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

With a growth rate of 20.9% from 2010 to 2020, the Nashville area now is the 36th-largest metropolitan area in the country with nearly 2 million residents. The census numbers showed the metro Nashville population increased by 343,319 people to 1,989,519.

Tennessee’s population grew by 8.9% between 2010 and 2020; lower than the 11.5% and 16.7% increases during the previous two census counts. Four of the past six census counts have shown double-digit increases in Tennessee’s population growth.

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Local Grassroots Groups to Host ‘Safeguard Our Schools’ Event This Saturday in Sumner County

A trio of local grassroots groups have announced that they are co-hosting a free “Safeguard Our Schools” event this Saturday afternoon in Hendersonville and invite the public to come together to take a look at “our most important asset,” our schools.

As Tennessee students are returning to school this week with the backdrop of spiking COVID-19 cases prompting mask mandates in some districts, there are a number of issues to be addressed at the grassroots gathering.

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Sumner County Commission Goes Against Pleas of Citizens, Votes to Advance ‘The Meadows’ 1,115-Unit Housing Development and $500,000 for Comer Barn

Against the pleas of numerous citizens who spoke publicly at the meeting, the Sumner County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to advance The Meadows 1,115 mixed-used housing development in north Gallatin and to spend $500,000 on the Comer Barn.

The backdrop for the meeting was a mandatory mask order extended to August 29 by County Mayor Anthony Holt and forced social distancing through benches where every other one was taped off and the remainder were marked for six-foot spacing.

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Sumner County’s ‘The Meadows’ Housing Development Land Battle Goes Back at Least a Decade and Includes Bribery Allegations

The land battle over Sumner County’s “The Meadows,” proposed to be a 1,115-unit housing development under consideration by the Sumner County Board of Commissioners on Monday, August 17, has a history that goes back more than a decade and includes allegations of bribery by a former Gallatin councilman.

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Comer Barn: Sumner County’s ‘Gift’ from Rogers Group Inc.

The Comer Barn was a “gift” to Sumner County from Rogers Group Inc. by way of a deed that had no funds involved, County Executive Anthony Holt announced to Sumner County Board of Commission members at several committee meetings in April 2016.

The old and picturesque stone horse barn, considered by many as a historic structure, is located on Highway 31 between Gallatin and Hendersonville on the property of one of Rogers Group’s quarries.  Rogers Group is a road paver and builder, asphalt supplier and the largest privately-owned crushed stone, sand and gravel mix company in the U.S.

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Sumner County to Increase Property Taxes by at Least 20 Percent for the Second Time in Five Years

A document released prior to the meeting of the Budget Committee of the Sumner County Board of County Commissioners reveals that a property tax increase of at least 20 percent is in store for Sumner County taxpayers for the second time in five years.

The property tax increase will, once again, coincide with Sumner County’s five year property reappraisal process as it did in 2014.

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Sumner County Citizens React to ‘Eminent Domain’ Sewer Line and Tax-Increasing Budgets at County Commission Meeting

  GALLATIN, Tennessee – More than 200 citizens turned out for the regularly scheduled meeting of the Sumner County Board of Commissioners Monday night to have their say on a planned greenway and sewer line as well as a property tax increase included in the budgets proposed for fiscal year 2019-2020. Two major and contentious issues on the Sumner County Commission’s meeting agenda – a greenway that would sit atop a to-be sewer line that will cut right through the properties of several owners and a tax-increase for the upcoming fiscal year – have driven citizens to action. As reported by The Tennessee Star, in the picturesque and rural Upper Station Camp Creek area north of Long Hollow Pike, County Executive Anthony Holt planned to use eminent domain to install a sewer line to a new 265-acre elementary-middle-high school campus right through the properties of residents in the area. The sewer line would have a sidewalk of sorts on top of it, creating a new section of greenway to connect to the existing Lower Station Camp Greenway. Residents in the area only recently found about the condemnation of their property for the sewer line and attached greenway, even though the…

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Sumner County Proposed Budgets Will Require a Property Tax Increase

  As budgets for the operation of Sumner County government and schools are set to be approved by the Board of County Commissioners at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, June 17, the proposed spending plan will require an increase in the property tax rate. While the amount of the property tax increase has not yet been established, it is clear through discussions by several of the County Commissioners as well as the County Finance Director that an increase is imminent. A property tax increase would be the second for Sumner County in less than five years, with the last set into place in November of 2014. Both times, the property tax increases coincided with a property reappraisal which happens every five years in Sumner County. All of Tennessee’s 95 counties are on a four-, five-, or six-year reappraisal cycle. Upon the completion of the appraisal of all properties in a county, no matter the length of the reappraisal cycle, the county’s Assessor of Property determines and certifies a property tax rate that provides the same revenue for the County as was levied during the previous year. This is otherwise known as a certified tax rate (CTR) or revenue-neutral…

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Sumner County Residents Accuse County Executive Anthony Holt of Abusing Eminent Domain Powers

  A group of residents in rural Sumner County say County Executive Anthony Holt wants to use eminent domain to build a sewer and a sidewalk on their properties, and that puts them in peril. Financial peril. Legal peril. Even physical peril. These property owners, in the Upper Station Camp Creek area, say it’s OK for county officials to build a sewer through their properties to connect to a nearby school. But constructing a concrete sidewalk atop that sewer — that’s unacceptable, property owners told The Tennessee Star this week. County officials also refer to the sidewalk as part of a greenway. Instead of paying for these properties, county officials will instead pay for a lifetime lease to use them, property owners said. “When government decides they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, whether it is theirs’ or not, then they can come knock on your door and turn your farm into public access and you still have to pay taxes on it,” Gallatin resident Deborah Holmes said. “You have to maintain it, and you are still 100 percent responsible for it. I don’t see how that is good for me or as a homeowner.” Holmes’ neighbor, Tony…

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Paying More Than Asking Price, Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt Spends $654,500 with Campaign Donor to Expand Parking for Communications Center

Sumner County’s Executive Anthony Holt executed a deal in which he spent $654,500 to purchase – from a campaign contributor – additional parking for the County’s Emergency Communications Center, which has been in the news over the past several months for ongoing operational problems. Sumner’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is a consolidation of the 9-1-1 dispatch services for police, fire and medical services that were previously handled separately by the County as well the cities of Gallatin, Hendersonville, Millersville, Portland and Westmoreland, which opened in July 2017. The ECC project has been beset with problems from its outset, including cost overruns and delays in the construction phase of the project. The problems – most recently reported on in The Portland Sun – are related to the daily operations of the center including high turnover of dispatchers and the resignation of the director and deputy director. The functional result of these issues is that the various emergency service agencies, fire, law enforcement and ambulance, are not getting the information they need to respond appropriately to Sumner County residents’ calls. According to the meeting minutes of December 2018 and January 2019 ECC Executive Committee, comprised of all of the city mayors, the county…

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Sumner County Executive’s Email Rant Signals Major Property Tax Increase for County In 2019

In an email sent to dozens of local elected officials ranting about a political rival, Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt, while seemingly trying to conceal a significant property tax increase in 2019, may have actually revealed that intention. County Executive Holt’s email directed to Sumner County’s County Commission members, other constitutional officers and Gallatin City Council members was under the heading of “Information Regarding County Courthouse Project,” referencing the new, greater than $110 million facsimile of Rutherford County’s new courthouse Sumner County is currently pushing along. The $110 million price tag does not address the identified need of a parking garage, which cost Rutherford County $7 million in 2014 dollars and did not include the land purchase. The courthouse project is running in parallel to the first phase of a new K-12 school campus on the 265 acres purchased in 2015 in the Upper Station Camp area, approved in a special-called Sumner County School Board meeting on October 30. A special-called joint meeting of the Education, Budget and Financial Management Committees held on election eve, November 5, expedited the approval of $103 million in debt to advance the school project on to the regularly scheduled full County Commission meeting November…

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Intimidation Tactics Used Against Conservative Republican First-Time Candidates Running For Sumner County Commission

As the February 15 deadline for candidate qualifying petitions for the May 1 primary drew near, intimidation tactics started being employed against conservative first-time Republican candidates running for County Commission in Sumner County. Three self-declared conservative Republican candidates were targeted, with two coming forward publicly and choosing to stay in the race. The current Sumner County Commission, comprised of two commissioners from each of 12 districts for a total of 24, were elected in 2014. As an outcome of the May 2014 primary, 11 new commissioners were elected to the body, the majority of whom were supported by Strong Schools of Sumner County. At a special-called meeting of the Sumner County Budget Committee, immediately followed by a special-called County Commission meeting the night prior to a national election, citizens were caught off guard when the property tax rate was taken from $2.02 to $2.50. Two months later, organized citizens turned out in the hundreds and brought forward a petition with approximately 4,000 signatures protesting the property tax increase. That heavily attended meeting lasted more than six hours, going until after 1 a.m. the following day, once dozens of citizens finally had their say. At the two previous monthly meetings, the…

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JC Bowman Commentary: The Role of a School Board

Tennessee Star

Local school boards reflect the needs and aspirations of the communities as well as the interests and concerns of professional and nonprofessional employees. We believe non-partisan control is what is best for our communities. This is best ensured when educational policy is made by representatives vested in the community they live, and whose undivided attention and interests are devoted strictly to education of the children in that district. What we stress in a nutshell: Public education is a federal concern, a state responsibility, and a local operation.

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Sumner County Property Assessor John Isbell Will Run Against County Executive Anthony Holt

John Isbell, the four times elected and internationally recognized Property Assessor of Sumner County, announced Monday that he is running for County Executive against incumbent Anthony Holt in the 2018 election cycle to “bring transparency to the office and stop the crony capitalism that plagues the administration.” First elected as Sumner County Property Assessor in 2004, Isbell has served in numerous positions in both the state and the 7,000-member global association of assessing officers and is pursuing his Ph.D. in public policy. In his campaign platform, Isbell is focused on integrity, transparency and accountability in leadership. “The citizens of Sumner County deserve an honest government and they know I defeated Anthony Holt’s plan to unconstitutionally railroad a tax increase on the property owners in Sumner County,” states Isbell’s press release, which continues, I believe in transparency and plan to bring to light Holt’s policy initiatives while in office. My reputation for honesty is the reason why I have received more votes than Anthony Holt in the past three elections. The unconstitutional tax increase Isbell refers to relates to a 2014 contention by Holt and Sumner County Schools Director Del Phillips that Isbell needed to raise property values following the housing…

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After Three Years of Budget Surpluses Sumner County Commission Keeps Property Tax Rate at $2.50 For 2018

Tennessee Star

  GALLATIN, Tennessee — After three years of county revenues exceeding ever-increasing annual budgets, the Sumner County Board of Commissioners by a vote of 21-3 adopted a property tax rate of $2.50 per $100 of assessed value, unchanged from last year, at their regularly scheduled July meeting. The $2.50 tax rate, a greater than 20 percent increase over the $2.08 certified tax rate, originally implemented in 2014 by the then newly-elected County Commission in a controversial special-called meeting which immediately followed a special called Budget Committee meeting, met with much public resistance. When the topic was added to a commission meeting agenda three meetings later, finally allowing Sumner County residents to speak on the issue, the county administration building was overflowing with protestors, with dozens making public comments against the tax increase and causing the meeting to go until after 1 a.m. The annual budgets for 2016, 2017 and 2018 have projected county revenues to grow by more than 3 percent per year above and beyond the impact from the 2014 property tax increase.  The total growth in revenues for the three-year period was conservatively estimated at $9 million. The actual growth has far exceeded those estimates, yielding an additional…

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Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt Wants Industrial Park to Obtain More Property Tax Revenue

by Chris Butler To hear some people in Sumner County tell it, County Executive Anthony Holt is “hell-bent” on building an industrial park north of Gallatin along Dobbins Pike. The park’s would-be neighbors don’t want it. But Holt, in his third term as county commissioner, says he’s dismissed the idea of using county money to pay for the park, mostly because he couldn’t persuade other commissioners to play along. “I’m confident the commissioners in general are doing what they need to do. But it’s Holt I’m concerned about,” said Brad Wear, one of the many people who live adjacent to the proposed park and whose property values could suffer if it’s built. He and several of his neighbors told Tennessee Watchdog the proposed industrial park may push them to leave their homes. As reported, local developers seem to have taken an interest in the park, enticed by state taxpayer money to help get it built. As reported, those developers hold positions of influence in county government, thanks to Holt. “This is a story about local officials, starting with the county executive, who have tremendous power. Holt gets to appoint all the committees, and they are either approved, or not, by…

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Sumner County Industrial Park Fight Between Developers and Residents Rages On

  by Chris Butler The scuttlebutt in Sumner County says developers are bucking the will of the people to build a taxpayer-funded industrial park. As reported, County Executive Anthony Holt tried to use taxpayer money to buy land north of Gallatin near Dobbins Pike. Landowners aren’t happy. People who own land adjacent to those properties say an industrial park would disrupt their lives. As a result, Holt’s efforts to fund this park — with county money, at least — were unsuccessful, and county officials turned down at least $20 million in state grants. But, according to rumors, developers with influence want to take advantage of state taxpayers and revive the project. Developers are talking sweet to the property owners, away from the spotlight. County Commissioner Moe Taylor says he’s heard the tittle-tattle. “Something must be going on, or else this stuff wouldn’t keep coming up,” Taylor said. Holt, in a conversation with Tennessee Watchdog, dismissed the chatter. “People want to look for conspiracies,” he said. But evidence suggests this is more than gossip. According to a February story in the Tennessean, members of the county’s Industrial Development Board, including a developer named Danny Hale, want this park built. Board members…

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Sumner County Residents Say Taxpayer-Funded Industrial Park Might Displace Them From Their Homes

  by Chris Butler Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt hoped last year to use taxpayer money to buy land for a new industrial park. But the county already has such a park, in Gallatin, with lots of acreage left for future needs. A public outcry ensued, and Holt’s idea didn’t get far. But that doesn’t mean this story is over, and it doesn’t mean a fight isn’t brewing. Sumner County is about 40 miles northeast of Nashville. A group of landowners in Sumner’s rural farming areas say they had the most to lose because that park would have been built adjacent to their properties. Their property values, they went on, would have suffered. A nearby industrial park might have displaced them from their homes. The properties they own are small compared to those of their neighbors, who own large tracts of land awarded their ancestors by the U.S. government after the Revolutionary War. The smaller property owners said they believe Holt and other people of influence, especially developers, are working discretely to make the industrial park a reality. These property owners said the already existing Gallatin Industrial Park can fill whatever industrial needs the county has — and then some.…

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