Mayor asks for audit of Davidson Country Clerk's Office

Friday, July 8, 2011 at 7:04pm
Staff reports

The Office of Mayor Karl Dean circulated late Friday afternoon a copy of a letter sent to Mark Swann, the Metro director of internal audit, requesting an audit of the Davidson County Clerk's Office.

The letter (see below) comes on the heels of a WTVF NewsChannel 5 report, broadcast earlier this week, revealing that county clerk John Arriola has been conducting business in a questionable manner. For example, Channel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams in the report describes the $40 Arriola typically collects to marry a couple as a "fee," and one that is not required. Also, the veteran reporter notes the "fee" is collected in cash only.

In contrast, Arriola refers to the collected money as a "gratuity," adding no records have been kept for cash received. Channel 5 said at the report's conclusion that Arriola will make clear in writing that, from this point, a gratuity will be accepted for his services and that any monies received will be donated to charity. 

Following is a copy of Dean’s letter:

Dear Mr. Swann:

Over the past several days, news reports have raised serious questions about certain practices and operations of the Davidson County Clerk's Office. It is my position that anytime questions of this nature are raised, the Metropolitan Government has an obligation to the taxpayers and citizens of Nashville to thoughtfully and carefully look into the issues.

For that reason, I am asking that the office of Internal Audit, in coordination with the Department of Law, immediately initiate an audit of the County Clerk's Office.

Specifically, questions have arisen over certain contracts entered into by the County Clerk's Office, including those for public relations services, photographic services, and signs. In light of possible issues with those contracts, a thorough review of all contracts and the procurement processes used by the County Clerk's Office should be undertaken.

Finally, it is my understanding there is a significant amount of cash involved in the operation of the County Clerk's Office. It would be my request that this review also include an overall look at the office's cash management procedures.

I ask your office to conduct this review because of the important role it plays as an independent office with representatives of the administration, the legislative body and citizens of Nashville.


Karl F. Dean


cc: Mike Safley, Department of Law

9 Comments on this post:

By: MocMewn on 7/8/11 at 9:02

and when re they going to audit the Department of Finance??

By: Nitzche on 7/9/11 at 8:41

Torrence and PR firm in NASHVILLE

By: artsmart on 7/9/11 at 11:24

Why is it that the news has to keep digging out the crooks. Is there no oversight at all in the Government. Just makes you wonder how much money is stolen on a annual basis.

By: govskeptic on 7/10/11 at 5:46

Apparently the election to an office in Metro gives card blanche to the one elected to
behave as one pleases while reporting to no one. The Mayor might have been wise
to send a copy to District Attorney's office concerning the legality of all these extra
cash dollars being collected by this office. Two cases of this nature for the DA's
office may have been more than they could handle, but might help to serve notice
on future office holders that it's not their personal office and dollars being dealt with

By: T-BONE on 7/10/11 at 5:11

CALL TO ACTION!...If any readers out there were married by John Arriola and not informed that you did not have to pay this $40, but told that you had to, then you were duped! This is fraudulent and criminal! Please, please call The District Attorney General Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III and tell him to file criminal charges and give you back your money! (I'll bet Arriola did not give you a receipt). Don't worry...MAKE THAT CALL!
Office of the District Attorney General
Washington Square, Suite 500
222 2nd Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37201 - 1649
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. M - F
Phone (615) 862-5500 | Fax (615) 862-5599

By: cx700e1 on 7/10/11 at 6:10

The guy makes over a 100K a year... and still he wants more! You gotta figure if he's willing to do this off the books what else is he willing to do off the books?

By: johnjohn100 on 7/10/11 at 8:37

johnnelson...has anybody ever Investigative Karl Dean on working with the Gulch, talking people business for the gulch....Seem he is always wanting somebodys land for somebody else....what his he getting out of it???????

By: bfra on 7/11/11 at 12:16

Hey Karl, isn't this audit, like shutting the gate, after the cows are out?

By: dreamgirl35fs on 7/17/11 at 8:17

you know this is great that they caught this going on. but there are ohter court clerk offices that need to be investigated .coffee county made a mistake on my son driving charge back in 1990 u can't drive from the back seat of a car at your grandmother's funeral they put the wrong date it should have 1998 when it happen he was picked up on a capis that caused him to go pirson for 7 months on a 2 year sentance in 1998 and 1999 there is a lot of dates whited out and wrote in they are going to let him go to pirson again this time for six years because they won't fix their mistake and the D A knows they made a mistake and won't fix theirs either they have court dates whited out and dates wrote in . the shriffs office D A office all clerk's offices should be investigted and i don't know why we have judges because the D A offices tell them what they want and they ok it