Oak Hill residents want ethics investigation

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:16pm

Six Oak Hill residents have sent a letter to the Oak Hill city attorney calling for an investigation of city leaders on a series of ethics complaints.

The letter calls for an ethics investigation into Mayor Tommy Alsup, Vice Mayor Austin McMullen, city attorney Robert Notestine and city engineer Chad Collier. The complaint also asks Commissioner Chip Throckmorton to forward the letter to the Tennessee Ethics Commission for investigation.

Many of the claims were shown to Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson last year in hopes of an investigation, but Johnson said there wasn’t enough information to proceed.

Among the claims made in the letter, it was stated that there was a conflict of interest when Oak Hill issued a Request for Proposal for a proposed sound wall project. The winning bid went to Collier Engineer, which is owned by Oak Hill’s city engineer Chad Collier.

The letter also states there was a conflict of interest when McMullen, who serves on the Oak Hill Planning Commission, voted on a zoning request for a piece of property owned by Johnson.

Last year, the DA had considered whether to investigate the claims made against Oak Hill city leaders, including McMullen. According to the letter, that means McMullen shouldn’t have voted on the proposed zoning change for Johnson’s property at 970 Overton Lea Road.

The letter also states there was an ethics violation when former City Manager Bill Kraus was told he had to resign last year because he had given a campaign contribution to a city commission candidate. Kraus rescinded his resignation, but no official board action was ever taken.

Additionally, the letter states there was an ethics violation by Alsup because he used a political consultant for personal gain. Alsup was also accused of a conflict of interest because his brother, Hunter Alsup, works for Notestine’s private law firm Belle Meade Title and Escrow.

A copy of the letter, dated May 18, was forwarded to the Tennessee Ethics Commission.