I've laid off our county mayor for a while. There was a global pandemic and all.
But now that things are returning to normal, local activist and anti-corruption crusader Joe Liggett is back at work.
Liggett started his post-pandemic life by filing a request for a "full independent audit" by the Rutherford County Attorney General's Office of Mayor Bill Ketron's mayoral campaign. He filed the official request on June 15.
"The Election Finance Registry has done some auditing, but people aren't sure how much of it can be trusted since certain information has surfaced and with their decision-making," Liggett said.
He was referring to a report in the Tennessee Lookout about how the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance Director Bill Young may have illegally negotiated a payment plan with Ketron to pay his $135,000 civil penalty. A penalty Ketron will have to pay in order to run for re-election.
The fines were leveled the fines "for 474 findings affecting about $300,000 in his Senate, Quest PAC and mayoral campaign accounts. The board also dropped $80,000 in previously ordered civil penalties for late filings and other violations and directed Young to negotiate a payment plan with Ketron after his attorney told the board the mayor faced financial difficulties," Sam Stockard reported in the Lookout.
Given Ketron's history of shady financial reporting, Liggett wants to make sure the mayor has changed his ways and everything is on the up and up.
But he found a few troubling things in Ketron's campaign finance reporting.
"The mayor race Annual Year End Supplemental Report for 2017 that was amended on April 13, 2021, shows the account had $54,118.22 at that time. The Registry of Election Finance audit of the
mayor fund on page 5 at the bottom says that Mayor Ketron had $36,265.26 in his campaign fund. This
is a difference of $17,852.96," Liggett said.
This is just one instance that Liggett would like someone to explain. He also points to issues with Ketron's amended 2018 first quarter report, his 2018 pre-genera1 report, and 2018 second quarter report.
"Are any of these things unlawful? If they are, what will (he) do about them?" Liggett asked of DA Jennings Jones.
You can read Liggett's request here. He was kind enough to include the supporting documents, which include who donated to Ketron's mayoral campaign. It's interesting to see which names pop up, like current county commissioners like Wayne Blair ($200) and Virgil Gammon ($100).