Sandra Clark reports in this week's Shopper News that Knox County Mayor Chief of Staff Mike Arms released the personal financial information (social security number and bank account information) of former Sheriff Tim Hutchison to lawyer Herb Moncier. (link...)

Releasing personal financial information is serious stuff. Hutchison was rightly outraged. He had to close his accounts and notify credit reporting services. Who knows how this information could be misused.

The Mayor's office says it won't happen again. Now, where have we heard that before?

Joe Taylor's picture

Knox COunty Mayor's Office

When is enough enough... it appears Mayor Ragsdale and his key staff believe they are above the law...

Yet again Mike Arms is center of the problem... when will the recall begin???

Knoxquerious's picture

Pissed indeed! As adamant as

Pissed indeed! As adamant as Tim was about not releasing public KCSD financial documents in 2003, I can’t see him getting pumped about his private endeavors being released. What is (isn't?) wrong with the Knox County GOP?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Appears purposeful

Sandra writes that the information was released "at the direction of Mike Arms." It's hard to imagine that someone in his position didn't know better...

Bbeanster's picture

The Knox County Republican

The Knox County Republican Party has been at war with itself for years. It used to be Victor Ashe & Co. V Tim Hutchison. Now, it's Hutchison V M. R. Ragsdale. Say what you will about Tim, but he's a tenacious opponent and the landscape is littered with the carcasses of those whom he's outlasted.

The current fight is a steel cage death match, and Ragsdale's not winning. The question might be, will there be a winner? Looks more like MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) to me.

If the Democrats can't make some gains in this time of GOP internicine warfare, they might as well go to the house.

Ennui's picture

I think mutually assured

I think mutually assured destruction is apt. The one positive thing I have seen from this mess in county government, is that folks are resisting the subtle(and some not so subtle) attempts to make this a commission vs mayor issue. I'm not about to excuse commission for cronyism and ethical lapses just because the mayor's staff is also rife with cronyism and ethical lapses.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Excellent point, neighbor! If we can all maintain this same attitude, that two wrongs don't make a right, maybe more than 20% of us registered voters will turn out at the polls come February.

CBT's picture

These disputes have nothing

These disputes have nothing to do with the Knox County Republican Party. Some battles are between Republicans, but it's certainly not over control of the Republican Party. As Bean points out, battles between various officeholders have been going on for decades. Yet, Republicans at all levels continue to win in Knox County.

Democrats could make gains in local seats in the next couple of years, but it will because of problems not political party. It will still be an uphill battle for Democrats. There are more Republicans than Democrats in Knox County. Could some be swayed to vote for a Democrat? Maybe. This is particularly so in local races where the person means as much or more than the party. Case in point, Democrat Mark Cawood won repeatedly in Karns which has a history of strong support for Republican candidates.

Back to the point of the post. You will note from Sandra's column story that 4 subpoenas were issued to various county offices. Somehow 3 offices knew to send those subpoenas to the Law Director. Not so with the Mayor's office.

bill young's picture


The proof is in the pudding.Democrats have only 4 seats on commission & the county clerk.In county primaries we have turn outs of 6, guys 25,000.Execpt for '08.

You hit the nail on the head.Black Wednesday is a huge political problem & if,in the county Republican primary, black wednesday canidates are defeated the problem goes away.Therefore,more difficult for Democrats to pick up seats.The 1st distict is the only one where the Democratic nominee is going to be elected.Every other race,for democrats, will be decided in the general.

Bbeanster's picture

Democrats will pick up a

Democrats will pick up a seat in the 2nd District. Barring some weird calamity, Chucky Bolus is a dead man walking. Either Amy Broyles or Cortney Piper will take him out. At this point, my money's on Piper, who, despite her youth, has a pretty strong record based on her work with the Clean Water Network and as chair of the city's Better Building Board. Amy's no slouch, either, and has strong organizational skills and probably better party connections. This will be a battle between the "Deaniacs" (Amy) and the Old Guard, who will be supporting Cortney. They've both raised a good amount of money, and either of them will make Chucky look really bad in any kind of fair debate setting.

On the other hand, Dems may well lose the seat held by Sharon Cawood, who seems to lack her husband's political savvy.

bill young's picture


I'm going back to a point I've been making.The turn-out for next years county Republican primary is going to set a record that may never be topped.In past Republican county primarys turn-out is around 25,000.The presidential primary should draw around 50,000 maybe 60,000.

I'm wondering if the turnout will overwhelm the factions.What Susan Williams calls a "pox on all your houses."You know,I'm your good government candidate.I'm going to put an end to all this foolishness.I'm not with the ex sheriff,the Mayor or anybody else.I'm with you &"I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it anymore."

The Mayor's office was just wrong on giving this information out.

mbradley's picture

Good Government Candidate

."You know, I'm your good government candidate. I'm going to put an end to all this foolishness. I'm not with the ex sheriff, the Mayor or anybody else. I'm with you &"I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it anymore."

The problem is, that candidate has to come up with $30k to $40k to get that message out. And then, if elected, he/she is tasked with ridding the county government with the stench that has fallen over it as a result of these latest developments.

Good luck with that...

Dennis Francis nailed it this weekend on WBIR... This whole thing with Knox County Government is like death by a thousand cuts.

The question is who has the ability to bury the carcasses of governments past?

bill young's picture

Will nobody run ?

Betty you're saying,Bolus will not be opposed,for the nomination?

Bbeanster's picture

Heck, I dunno if Bolus will

Heck, I dunno if Bolus will have a primary opponent. I haven't heard of one yet, and I live right smack in that district. Chucky's having a big fund raiser tomorrow out in deep west KC, I hear.

What I'm saying is that Chucky will not be a commissioner after next year.

bill young's picture

I agree with bbeanster on Bolus

It's a pretty good bet that any candidate that is funked up with the black wednesday blues is in deep trouble.Bolus is one of those candidates.

I think there is a good chance some candidates will not emerge till Thanksgiving.

update:Bruce White is opposing Bolus in the primary.
on Election Commission web site.

mbradley's picture

today's meeting

After watching today's commission meeting, it is a brave soul that the wade into those waters... What a show!

knoxvegas99's picture

Commission today

I was sitting about two feet away from a purple-faced Ragsdale when he cut loose, labeling Paul Pinkston "the poster child for nepotism." You couldn't make this stuff up.

Larry Van Guilder

StaceyDiamond's picture

Where is the Shopper??

Where is a reliable place for me to find a Shopper? It used to be at the N.Knox Food Cities and the Broadway BP like clock work, then the last few weeks there has been no sign of it. This has happened before. I need my Mon. Scripps alternative news fix to get me through to my Thurs. Scripps alternative news fix.

mbradley's picture

Inside the News Sentinel

Best place to find the Shopper is inside the Monday edition of the Knoxville News Sentinel or on line.

StaceyDiamond's picture


I don't get delivery nor do I live in Halls, I read the online some, but I like paper in my hands. I hope they haven't stopped the Food City delivery.

talidapali's picture

You can get a News Sentinel...

at the Ftn. City Post Office or the Post office on Broadway at Washington Pike. The Monday edition of the paper has a copy of the Shopper with it. There should also be newspaper machines at Food city and they sell the paper inside Kroger's stores at the service counter I believe. Also at Pilot gas station on Broadway at the corner of Adair Drive.

"You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"
"I never said I wasn't a brat..." ~ Talidapali

Sandra Clark's picture


Folks: I'll check on this. We've not changed anything but may need to increase the count at the North Knox Food City store. -- s.

Anarchist's picture

Time for Mike and Mike to

Time for Mike and Mike to say "goodbuy" to Knox County gooberment...but Mike won't fire Mike and neither Mike will resign. Sooooo, what is the process of recalling Mike so that Mike can be replaced by some other boob?

Pickens's picture

I hope the Mikes can get the

I hope the Mikes can get the help they need.

CBT's picture

I note the absence of any

I note the absence of any comment from Mike Arms friend Brian Hornback. Mr. Hornback, was it right for Mike Arms to release the personal financial information of former Sheriff Tim Hutchison to lawyer Herb Moncier? You may be closer to the situation and able to give us some insight.

p.s. I am somewhat familiar with laws concerning financial privacy and the proper response to subpoenas.

Joe Taylor's picture


Does anyone have or can post a link to the p-card monthly statement that started this fun little exercise in abuse of public spending?

Knoxquerious's picture


Also, I read something recently about all 300 or so county P-cards were going to be looked over, from the mayor's office and county commission down to the KCSD. Who perform the audit? When is it going down?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Walls to expand audit

Sunday's N-S reported that Richard Walls is to expand his audit to cover all 333 p-cards, but that he has "no idea" when he will conclude his examination of just cards in the mayor's office. The story said he has two staffers and an intern working with him.

Simply Ridiculous's picture

I don't understand why Walls

I don't understand why Walls would expand the audit to include county commission. I have been involved in auditing for many years, and it is always UNETHICAL to audit a department in which you are responsible for or report to. It seems like we'll be waiting months for a report that won't even meet the smell test for auditing 101.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Who does Walls work for?

I've been confused on this point, too. Repeated N-S stories have referred to Walls as Commission's auditor. However, I spoke to him by phone one day and he indicated that he worked for Knox County generally (for all departments, as I understood him). He said that WRT the audit he has underway, it is simply that Commission has directed him to undertake it.

Walls' assertion of who he works for, then, seems to conflict with the organizational chart the N-S alludes to...

Knoxquerious's picture

It seems like we'll be

It seems like we'll be waiting months for a report that won't even meet the smell test for auditing 101.

My thoughts exactly. I doubt Walls will be crunching the numbers with the ferocity that he did to nail the mayor's office. I ain't pickin sides...this should be an equal opportunity audit. I am sure everyone would like to know exactly how every dollar is spent on those cards regardless of who is using them.

CL's picture

IIRC, Walls is the county

IIRC, Walls is the county auditor not the commission auditor.

mbradley's picture


Its my understanding the county commissioners don't carry cards unless its through their employment in county government. So, when that department is audited, those cards would be audited, I presume. If a commissioner can't spend or individually authorize expenditures, that won't leave much to audit.

In the commission meeting yesterday, Walls indicated that the order of work and delivery to the state comptroller was (1) travel pay (2) p card purchases, and (3) the Knox hospitality account. Travel pay had been sent and p card audit of departments was underway. At least that's the way I heard it.

I think he'll do a thorough job. Besides, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a reporter or privately hired auditor so he won't have much choice...

Joe Taylor's picture

Too Man Issues

Let's not forget this post started with Mike Arms release of personal info of an employee which I believe might violate federal HIPPA laws and others...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Not HIPPA, but state Open Records law

Joe: "...this post started with Mike Arms release of personal info of an employee which I believe might violate federal HIPPA laws and others..."

Actually, Joe, HIPPA law protects our private health-related information, whether or not we are government employees.

Most personnel info of government employees is public, but the records shared on Hutchison are protected under Tennessee Open Records law.

I recall reading our state statutes pertaining to open records just after the January 31 Commission appointments. The text of the statutes included an itemization of which government employee records are exempted from our public scrutiny, including employees' Social Security numbers and bank account numbers.

bill young's picture

Didnt expect the fireworks

I went to the meeting when the budget passed.
Everybody was smiling & the debate was calm.
Watched this one on TV & it was anything but.

It looks like commissioners have lost faith in the Mayors office.Questioning everything.Mayor Ragsdale is not helping matters by blowing up.

The ethics committe debate got down right ugly.
Pointing fingers,talkin smack.

Some of these cats need to do a little more thinkin & a less talkin.No law says you got to turn your light on.

Joe Taylor's picture

Open Records

Thanks for setting the record straight

CBT's picture

Tamara, excellent post re:

Tamara, excellent post re: public records. Seems to me the question will be if the release of the confidential information is legal given it was in response to a subpoena. I believe there must be a redaction of such information prior to making such records available for public inspection. I don't know if the same is true if the documents are provided in response to a subpoena.

If you get by the subpoena question, it could get interesting. Moreover, if it can be proven it was done intentionally, i.e. with malice, that could be an interesting lawsuit and would keep the Mayor's problems in the paper for years to come.

Nice work on the part of the Mayor's chief of staff. If you're sinking, kick another hole in the boat.


Tamara Shepherd's picture

Would subpoena "cost" SS/bank acct privacy?

"I believe there must be a redaction of such information prior to making such records available for public inspection. I don't know if the same is true if the documents are provided in response to a subpoena."

Hmmm. If you don't know, Chad, I certainly don't, but it sure seems like the task of keeping private info private would apply, whether or not the other personnel info was distributed in response to a subpoena (I'm assuming that Moncier didn't specifically request the Social Security/bank account info, just other personnel info included in Hutchison's file).

Since any records relating to Moncier's suit may also be viewed by the public, what other interpretation of the law would suffice to protect a government employee's right to (limited) privacy?

CBT's picture

I haven't done any research.

I haven't done any research. Maybe Sheriff's lawyer Robert Watson has, at least over the past couple of days...hehe. Just a guess, but I would think the confidential information must be redacted from documents produced in response to a regular ole subpoena.

I'm sure Law Director Owings is very familiar with this process because he has to deal with subpoenas for public records all the time. If there's an exception, my guess is Owings would have said so right away. Another reason to think the release was illegal.

Still no comment from Arms confidant Brian Hornback. Interesting.

bill young's picture

melt down

The West Wing of the 6th floor is in melt down.
Whats going on?

Bless Herb's heart but how on earth does the Mayor's office react to one of his subpoenas in this manner?

After all thats gone they think Hutch is their problem? Maybe in courthouse fantasy politics but not in the real world.

In the real world working folks are outraged.
They think the Mayor's staff is stealing & all we see,on the 6 oclock news,is the Mayor gettin mad.Get a grip on this thing.

Let me tell ya,Nobodys buying..the spin if its on them it aint on me.Just yesterday the commission was hollerin & pointin fingers.

Im sick of the whole damn mess.

By God,the state constitution says "all power is inherent in the people"

If we aint happy we can abolish the government.
We aint happy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Text: TN Open Records Law

I found the text to the TN Open Records law at, if you care to make a note. It's TCA 10-7-501 through 10-7-512.

Section 10-7-503 details exceptions to the law (i.e., records that are not open to the public). From the link, scroll down to the **top of page 13** to see that employee bank account and Social Security info are exceptions.

No mention here of how the need to respond to a subpoena should be addressed...


J. A. Travel's picture

Skateboard Park in Fountain City

What happened to the purposed Skateboard Park in Fountain City?
The property was donated by the Hensleys and the Mayor had a
ceremony dedicating the site several years ago.
The children will be hurt skateboarding on or near Broadway. There will be a serious accident.
My building sits directly on Broadway across from the construction
of the new Pinnacle Bank, and my view of the traffic congestion is level with the street. I cringe when I see the children in
harm's way with no other place to play. The young people need
this park.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Search and Archives