Can Corruption and Immorality Long Exist in a Community Full of Churches?

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by Dave Todd

The Tennessee Secretary of State's office is responsible for overseeing elections

(Apr. 9, 2011) — I wonder how many individuals in Tennessee have pondered that question, especially on Sundays when they hear a preacher’s rhetoric about Satan and breaking the chains of bondage.  Apparently many people here in Tennessee have been living in bondage under Satan’s influence for so long that that they have become fearful of the unknown and would in many cases be more comfortable living under the chains of bondage they know than moving into the realm of the unknown.  As we have all learned from childhood, Satan is powerful, ruthless and resourceful. As a master of deception, he often appears in a form we are comfortable with, most often appearing in this culture as “one of the good ol’ boys” whom we might be inclined to trust and respect, sometimes even as a Democrat and other times a Republican.

Every once in a while, people get a glimpse of a set of circumstances where it appears as though good might prevail over evil.  Such a set of circumstance appears to have happened this week when the Tennessee Elections Commission, which was scheduled to appoint people to the local election commissions on 4 April 2011, suddenly and without warning changed the date to April 11, 2011.  Many of us want to believe this change of date is the result of the State Election Commission wanting to devote more time and effort into making sure they appoint honest and upright people who will not have a hidden agenda and will abuse public trust in order to advance that agenda.  While we want to believe that this is the case, in reality it may be only wishful thinking on our part as the delay could be because the date of 4 April was simply inconvenient for some members of the commission.  Only time will tell whether or not the State Election Commission will take the necessary steps to reassure the general public in Fentress County that they can support a charter form of government and properly sign petitions to get such on the ballot with out fear of retaliation.

In a previous article published in The Post & Email entitled “Terror in the Hills of Tennessee,” incidents of abuse and official misconduct on the part of specific members of the Fentress County Election Commission were covered in detail.

It would be a major public relations disaster for the state of Tennessee if the State Election Committee happens to reappoint the two individuals on the local commission who had a direct role in the incident of 15 March 2011.  If the action taken does not provide some kind of reassurance against possible retaliation, it may be very difficult to avoid the appearance of some sort of collusion.

Some time ago, I discovered that the group calling itself the Fentress County Republican Party had not been legitimate for over  five years, had no accountability, no minutes, no financial reports, etc., so I began bringing this matter out in the open through emails and certified letters to local individuals claiming to be party officials and to the Republican Party officials in Nashville.   At the April 5 meeting of the so-called Fentress Republican Party held again at the American Legion Hall, Jim Cobb, the state Republican committee man for this area, his wife and two other party officials made an appearance to instruct members on how to become legitimate and provide us with some of the initial paperwork. Of course there will be some who will attempt to take credit for the appearance of Jim Cobb and his speech on becoming legitimate.  These individuals will also attempt to claim that I had played no role in his appearance.  But then most of what they have to support their claims is nothing but verbal rhetoric while  I have dozens of emails and even certified return receipt letters.

It was only after Jim Cobb, his wife and the other two party officials left to return to Nashville that things became interesting and perhaps even a bit uncivilized.  For the first time in years, minutes from the previous meetings were read  (15 March).  They were crude, rather vague and improvised, but minutes nonetheless.  Most important was that for the first time in approximately five years, a financial report of sorts was presented alleging that there was less than $300 on hand.  The only known expense during that time was the $50 monthly rent on the American Legion Building.  Of course there will never be an explanation of what happened to all the monies donated over the years which were over and above the $50 needed for monthly building rental.

Next was a report by Robert Long, who claims to be the party’s public relations officer, about some vague and ambiguous emails he had received.  He stated that he was not about to forward any email he couldn’t verify, after which he gave a very heart-rending story about how he moved here five years ago, was a loyal Republican, and wanted only what was best for the party.   Some people have been deceived by his verbal rhetoric, but in reality it defied common sense and logic.  Emails are, for the most part, easy to verify by contacting any one of the individuals using that email to communicate. The only reason he was not able to verify the emails and then forward them is that someone had instructed him not to do so. There can be no question that he had been forwarded emails from Adam Nickas, Executive Director of the Tennessee Republican Party, stating quite clearly that the group in Fentress County was not legitimate and also a copy of the email from Jim Curtis establishing beyond a doubt that on 15 March there was a demonstration at the American Legion building that proved that the might of five men is superior to the rights of one unescorted woman.

The email communications among Kristin, Jim Curtis and me should have been of the utmost importance for forwarding to individuals who believed they were members of a legitimate Republican party and/or members of the American Legion, as there is a  considerable chance of some  serious and very, very expensive and highly visible  legal ramifications as a result of what happened on the evening of 15 March 2011.

Jim Curtis, Ed Stephens and Paul Draper were next to follow with some very illogical and inflationary rhetoric in front of about 25 witnesses where they attempted to blame, discredit and demonize the victim, who was accused of lies and misinformation. They attempted to portray that no incident had occurred and that in fact she enjoyed her stay in that little 8 x 8 storage room with five men to the point that at the end, they were all hugging and laughing.  Nice story but not credible when compared to the email sent to me by Jim Curtis and Kristin’s account. People who find themselves involved in a despicable act such as this usually attempt  to present themselves in the best light and deny any actual participation, just as Jim Curtis attempted to do.  His email follows.

From: Jim Curtis
To: Dave Todd
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:32 AM
Subject: Re:  last nights meeting

Dave, thanks for the viewpoint.

I would make the following comments in order to set the record straight:

1.  I attended the “closed door” meeting in order to be an observer individually as well as the representative of the American Legion Post.

2.  My observation as an unbiased observer who only commented or interceded when the discussion got, in my opinion too emotional on the part of three participants.

3.  From my perspective this meeting in the office (storage room) at the request of Paul (last name escapes me) was not mandatory for anyone nor was anyone forced to attend. It is my understanding that Kristin attended at her own free will and was an active participant.

4.  The discussion was very emotional particularly on Paul and Kristin’s part and rude at times on thier part as well as Chris Owen’s. I interceded several times in an effort to keep the discussion both civil as well on point.

5.  You should know the following as well:

a. Only Paul questioned Kirstin regarding her loyalty as a Republican, and in my opinion, if she can’t deal with this guy, that is her problem. Kirstin’s assertion that in any way she was “ganged up on” again is incorrect.

6.  This meeting was not sanctioned by the Fentress County Republicans or the American Legion, the chairman (Ed Stephens) and I were strictly observers and did not participate in the discussion.

7. The actual purpose of the meeting (I believe) was to ask Kirstin to back off of her attacks on the Sheriff and that digressed into subjects from the jail proposal to a very emotional Kirstin discussing her aged and apparently failing Grandmother.

8. I’m certain that the personal attacks on all sides are not helping to fwd. the objectives of the attackers and are completely counterproductive.

Note he uses terms such as “from my perspective,” “I believe,” “my understanding,” “in my opinion,” “unbiased observer,” and “strictly observers,” are all phrases which I believe were intentionally chosen in a feeble attempt to convince me that he was not directly involved.  He makes a major Freudian slip when he introduces the term  #5 “GANGED UP ON,” as that term does not appear in any communication from Kristin or me.  The word “emotional” seems to be misused; a more proper word would probably be “frightened,” “scared,” or maybe even “terrified.”  When a woman is in tears begging not to be harmed because she is the caretaker of minor children, one still in diapers, and a failing 97-year-old grandmother, “emotional” just is not the correct word.  Next week I will attach Kristin’s perspective of what happened in that little 8 x 8 storage room as she was verbally assaulted, intimidated and threatened for the better part of an hour by five men.  Everyone will then be able to read and compare both sides of the story and reach  his or her own conclusion.

Pansy Smith is the widow of Jeff Smith, who died of respiratory problems at age 42 after spending time in the Fentress County jail

Many people in this community are living in fear because they know that a few days after Pansy Smith threatened to file a complaint against Sheriff Tony Choate over the treatment of her husband while he was incarcerated, her house burned to the ground.  It was a strange coincidence or a warning/act of retaliation of which many people are fearful if they were to be seen supporting Fentress Citizens for a Responsible Government.

A charter form of government or even if their name appears on a petition supporting such there could be retaliation.  The community is well aware of these incidents and the fact that the sheriff has access to and leverage over individuals who would without hesitation commit an act of retaliation if asked to do so.  They know there is nowhere for them to go because the sheriff is selective as to whom he arrests, and his family owns the local newspaper.

Right now the only place people can speak out is on the local Internet forum, TOPIX using a fictitious identification, but then again, there are individuals representing the ruling family that will attempt to demonize posters, insult them, or attempt to discredit them–an interesting insight into the local culture and mentality.

The five individuals who terrorized Kristin on 15 Mar 2011 actually believe they are untouchable as long as they stick together and protect each other; one lies and the other four swear to it. In reality, they are only as strong as the weakest member; when he caves in, they all go down.  If we keep exposing corruption here in Tennessee, it will not be long until people start coming forward.

It is also interesting to note that Joey Williams, the new Fentress County Election Administrator, did not attend the April 5 meeting, so for the moment, he is not readily identified with the other individuals.


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