DA won't investigate fairgrounds petition drive impropriety charge

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 5:04pm

District Attorney Torry Johnson said Thursday his office would not investigate allegations of impropriety that followed the petition-drive triggering the referendum on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

Attorney George Barrett, representing the Neighbors for Progress group that supports redeveloping the fairgrounds, had requested in June that Johnson investigate how signatures were collected, arguing the petitions filed to hold the referendum warranted “illegal conduct.”

Fairgrounds preservationists had turned in several petition formats that were dismissed by the Davidson County Election Commission due to irregularities. Nonetheless, the commission still verified 11,159 petitions, nearly twice the 6,742-threshold petition organizers needed to cross.

“While it is possible that these petitions in question were a deliberate, albeit clumsy, attempt to mislead the Election Commission, it is just as likely they were the result of an innocent mistake or ignorance,” Johnson said in a release.

“I don’t think Davidson County taxpayers would be well-served by a lengthy and extensive investigation into matters that are, at best, a C misdemeanor,” he added. “In the end, the issue is fairly before the voters to decide on Aug. 4.”

Johnson also said it would be “extremely time-consuming” to conduct an investigation because many individuals took part in the petition drive.

Councilman Jamie Hollin, who heads the group Save My Fairgrounds and helped spearhead the referendum, said Johnson’s decision didn’t come as a surprise.

“It was nothing more than good old-fashioned gutter politics to try to drag supporters of the fairgrounds into the mud,” Hollin said of Barrett’s complaint.

The City Paper could not immediately reach Barrett for comment. 

10 Comments on this post:

By: las04 on 7/28/11 at 4:02

Thank you for bringing some dignity and common sense back to the city of Nashville. Your priorities are exactly where they should be. Get rid of those who are abusing their elected positions and those who are only in it for themselves. Personally I think the mayor should be the next one to be investigated, He's abused his power for his personal gain. He needs to GOOOOOO.....!!

By: Nitzche on 7/28/11 at 5:37

George Barrett again? seriously?

By: bfra on 7/28/11 at 6:18

las04 - Amen on that! An investigation of the mayor seems very warranted & past due!

By: JayBee56 on 7/28/11 at 11:04

What a refreshing breath of fresh air - some common sense being used in government instead of further impeding the will of the people. Thanks to the DA for seeing it for what it is. James Keeton for Mayor - www.jameskeeton.com

By: C.A.Jones on 7/29/11 at 7:30

Does anyone else think that these "Neighbors for Progress" people ate way too many lead paint chips when they were kids? What kind of soul-less bastards would want to take away the great thing that is our Tennessee State Fairgrounds??

By: macjedi on 7/29/11 at 8:10

Ignorance doesn't get you out of a speeding ticket. Ignorance does not excuse you from paying rent. But ignorance is good enough to give a pass to a bad petition for a bad proposed amendment. Great.

Ignorant people should become UN-ignorant before attempting to play with the big kids and do things like referendums.


By: Doveplayer on 7/29/11 at 5:21

You certainly seem quite knowledgable about ignorance. Maybe it takes one to know one? Get over yourself. The referendum is a done deal and NOTHING you Colby, Barrett or Herr Karl can do about it. By the way, public opinion has been running about 80s% in favor of saving the fairgrounds. How does it feel to be a loser?

By: racer84 on 7/29/11 at 8:01

Ignorance can best be described as the head of marketing (mackedi) of macauthority trashing 90% of his company's business clientele as Luca levertte is doing daily with his comments and fb page.

Ignorance is bliss until he enters the job market. Enjoy that job while ya can.

By: fairgroundswhit... on 7/30/11 at 7:54

Macjedi if you need a job I here Accredo Health Group has a position open.

By: racer84 on 7/30/11 at 2:53

Fairgroundstwit- very good point, He should definately apply they have lots of openings. Would serve him right.