Week in Ketron: Fraud allegations fallout, campaign finance questions and an age-discrimination lawsuit

Jul 29, 2019 at 11:35 am by Michelle Willard

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron

Things keep getting worse for embattled Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron.

What started as an unassuming fraud investigation into his family-owned insurance agency (since when he has dropped like a hot potato and distanced himself from) has now grown into questions about how he spent campaign money and an age-discrimination lawsuit.

In case you're having a hard time keeping up with all the bad news about our illustrious mayor here's a rundown of the best/worst from the past week:

Continued fallout from the insurance fraud investigation

On July 23, Kelsey Ketron resigned her post on the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee. I'm unsure whether the resignation came from the fraud investigation or because her dad told everyone she's living outside the district.

On July 25, News Channel 5 questioned whether Ketron got special treatment in 2017 when the first allegation of insurance fraud surfaced.

In the story, Andy Spears, Executive Director of Tennessee Citizen Action, pointed out that Ketron was a member of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, which oversees and controls the budget for the Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Department.

Michael Humphreys from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance denied Ketron was given special treatment.

On July 26, the Murfreesboro Post gave a report on the search warrant and police affidavit that the Murfreesboro Police Department and Secret Service used to raid the offices of Universal Insurance Agency on South Church Street.

According to the warrant, investigators were looking for evidence of forgery, theft from $1,000-$2,500, and imitating a licensed professional, as well as evidence that the insurance company's errors and omissions (E&O) insurance had lapsed. In all they took 56 items into evidence.

Campaign Finance Questions

In the midst of the insurance fraud investigation, it came to light that Ketron owed the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance $60,000 in civil penalties for filing his campaign finance reports late.

On July 24, Ketron was granted a brief reprive when the Tennessee State Registry of Election Finance said it needs more time to look into the violations and fines.

Then on July 29, County Commissioner Robert Stevens continued his calls for investigations into the mayor.

First he called for the commission to hold a special meeting to interogate the mayor on the insurance fraud investigation.

Now he has asked the Tennessee State Registry of Election Finance to investigate allegations that Ketron misused funds he raised for his state senate campagin and Quest PAC to fund his campaign to become county mayor.

Specifically, Stevens pointed to more than $30,000 in expenitures from 2017-2018 where funds were transferred from Quest PAC and Ketron's state senate campaign for in-kind services, a campaign vehicle and cash donation to Ketron's county mayor campaign.

"The fact is people have questions, and we can't ignore them," Stevens told News Channel 5.

Read Stevens's letter.

Ketron sued for age discrimination

On July 29, another controversy popped up in Rutherford County Chancery Court when former Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services Director Mike Nunley and two others filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against Ketron.

Nunley alleges he was forced out during a reorganization of the county's emergency services because he is 71 years old.

"While the defendant attempted to characterize plaintiff Nunley's termination as a 'retirement,' plaintiff Nunley was told that he could take his 'retirement' or be terminated," Nunley's attorney Terry Fann told the DNJ. White and Joe Haffner are also listed as plaintiffs. Both men are 58 years old and were fired by Ketron on April 1.

That's all for now but it is a new week.

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