Rex and the City: Piano men

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 1:00am

Mayor Karl Dean and new Director of Schools Jesse Register are together going to try and save Nashville’s failing public schools. First, though, they had to get their Captain Jack groove on.

Someone had the bright idea of scheduling media availability right after the pair’s private meeting last week in City Hall. The meeting took place on Register’s first day in office, and afterward the newfound Dean/Register bromance was on full display for the city’s media.

But the availability was very brief, and about 10 minutes in length. The two men each said a few words, and then took three questions from assembled reporters before Dean said they had to go so Dean could announce an upcoming concert.

“I have to go talk about Billy Joel and Elton John, ” Dean said.

He turned to leave. Register stepped up to the microphones.

“I have to go listen to him talk about Billy Joel and Elton John,” he said.

That was the end of the press conference, and the last time that day that Register spoke with members of the media, at least as far as Rex knows.

Rex half expected to see Deputy Mayor Greg Hinote get in front of the cameras to say he had to see a man about a dog. The whole event left reporters scratching their heads.

Carpetbagger Blues

With last week’s vote in the General Assembly on a new State Treasurer, a big-time GOP contributor lost out on what apparently he thought was his for the taking.

Ira Brody, who landed in Tennessee a few years ago via that “well-known” New York/Murfreesboro pipeline, did his best to get the job by having a former congressman, Van Hilleary, a former GOP state party chair, Bob Davis, and others flack for him on Capitol Hill and in a private suite at Tennessee Titans games.

How confident was the two-time former New York State Senate candidate? At last week’s vote he was accompanied by, according to several GOP sources, a publicist.

With all due respect to Mssr. Brody of the New York Brody’s, there are two things we don’t do in Tennessee. No. 1 is to volunteer to sit down with NewsChannel 5’s Phil Williams. Bad idea if you are an aspiring or current public official. The other is to bring a publicist to anything political.

Good luck in your next political attempt in the next state you try.

Mothball …Pinto …Flounder …Buttons?

One hobby of lobbyists and legislators is to hand out nicknames that are a tad bit more imaginative than the type formerly handed down by President George W. Bush. For example former State Rep. Jere Hargrove, who is now married to the head of the Tennessee Lottery, is nicknamed “powerball.”

Usually getting a nickname takes some time, but on freshman State Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver’s first vote she accidentally voted with the Democrats despite being instructed several times by her colleagues how to vote electronically at her desk.

Arguably, Weaver’s vote provided Democrats with the chance to adjourn Tuesday’s session, get organized and vote in new House Speaker Kent Williams over heir apparent Jason Mumpower.

Henceforth, Terry Lynn will be known as “Buttons.”

Little Ole’ Dime

Somewhere, Charles Dickens is looking on with a knowing grimace.

Country star Jim Reeves died in 1964. His widow, Mary Reeves Davis, died in 1999. Ed Gregory, the carnival operator to whom Davis loaned more than $6 million in the 1990s, went bankrupt in 2002 and died in 2004.

But the battle for what's left of Jim Reeves' fortune continues. The Davidson County Probate Court dispute is looking more and more like a modern Nashville version of the multi-generation-long Jarndyce and Jarndyce estate case that Dickens described scathingly in his 1853 novel Bleak House.

The case pits W. Terry Davis, the husband Mary Reeves Davis married after Jim Reeves died in an airplane crash, against more than 35 heirs of the singer. The heirs contend the husband was entitled to only $100,000 under his wife's will. He claims she wrote a later will leaving him much more.

Court proceedings have established that Mary Reeves had assets of some $4 million and an annual income exceeding $300,000 when she and Davis eloped in 1969. Jim Reeves had numerous hit singles in both the U.S. and internationally during his lifetime, and compilations that his widow put out after his death sold very well. They still do, for that matter: The estate took in more than $120,000 in record company royalties between September 2006 and October 2007.

Dealings with Gregory's United Shows of America depleted the Davis fortune considerably, but an estate accounting still showed $2.15 million in assets as of 2002.

Since that year, though, the estate has paid out at least $1.4 million to various Nashville law firms, covering the legal fees of both the estate administrator and the Reeves heirs. By late 2007, the estate was worth only $119,000.

Nashville attorney Gregory H. Oakley, representing Terry Davis, claimed in a court filing last week that his client is being "forced to watch the assets of the estate being depleted by persons who intend to burn the house to the ground before letting him have one stick of furniture."

A trial is set for February, but Oakley wants it delayed so Davis can retain a new lawyer. The Probate Court docket for the case, as of last week, recorded 955 document filings since Mary Davis died.

Filed under: City News
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By: KBrooks on 12/31/69 at 7:00

It was Ed Gregory who was to be overseeing Evergreen/old Jim Reeves museum during the decline it never recovered from. And which decline, eventually lead to its much publicized demolition.