Thu
Sep 12 2013
05:08 am

Team Rick Staples sent out a press release last night, apparently in anticipation of this (subscription required). The full statement after the break...

From Kim Webber, Media Relations (KWebber@Teamrickstaples.com)

For Immediate Release September 11, 2013

Putting Rumors to Rest

In order to be as transparent as possible with court action pending, I'm releasing the following statement regarding the news that I am a party to a current legal proceeding. Because litigation is pending, I regret that I will not be able to answer questions regarding this matter after releasing the following statement, which has been approved for media release by legal counsel.

It is true that legal action is pending.

Nearly 15 years ago, I was in a relationship with a woman. We had a child in 1999. At the time, we were living in Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly after the birth of the child, my romantic relationship with the woman ended and I returned to Tennessee. I was thrilled with the birth of the child, and I continued to visit and send financial support to remain a part of his life, even though I was no longer living with his mother in Alabama.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, mailed correspondence to the mother of the child, including checks, were returned to me in Tennessee as undeliverable. I have evidence proving that I, and my family members, tried on numerous occasions to establish contact with the mother of the child. I now know that during this time, she married and changed her last name. Her now ex-husband allegedly adopted my son and changed my son’s last name to his, as well. Because my family and I did not know that the mother of the child had married or that the child’s last name had changed, it became impossible for us to find them.

In April of this year, legal paperwork arrived in my mother’s mail regarding child support for my son. This was the first contact we’d had from these individuals in 14 years. It appears the mother of the child has recently divorced and she is, for the first time ever, seeking support for the child from me.

Because my relationship with the mother of the child took place in Alabama, then I moved back to Tennessee, and now, mother and son currently reside in Georgia, the case may be complicated by three jurisdictions.

I’m eager to take responsibility for this child, in fact, I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a parent to this child, and be a part of his life again. Please keep in mind that the legal aspects of the case must be adjudicated among three states. It will take time to ensure each jurisdiction is satisfied with our negotiations. Because a minor child is involved, I would be grateful to each of you for keeping his identification confidential.

The first step in this process is to establish paternity. This is accomplished by a DNA test according to court order. I completed this first step Tuesday. On Tuesday, I was told that it may take from 40 to 60 days to receive test results from Georgia.

As with many of you, my life has been a series of triumphs over obstacles. I feel these experiences have given me the chance to represent you and the struggles that you face every day. I have used my optimism and determinism to persevere throughout my life and I’m confident this situation will be resolved fairly. Most importantly, I will finally be able to parent my son.

I am eager to put speculation regarding this legal issue to rest and to focus on the issues facing Knoxville. It’s imperative that we focus on building stronger, safer neighborhoods, and growing a 21st century green economy with quality jobs. Team Rick Staples is looking forward to moving past these personal issues and the citizens of Knoxville deserve more than that. I embrace the opportunity and look forward to parenting my son. I continue to seek to represent constituents of the fourth district on City Council, because there’s too much at stake to not face the important issues that affect the lives of our citizens every day including, for example:

• Supporting Mayor Rogero’s initiative to include domestic partners in family benefits offered by the city.

• Deciding to rezone property to facilitate the move of Tennova’s flagship hospital from District 4 to Middlebrook Pike

• Ensuring public safety and public service workers are able to retire with dignity

• Fostering stronger neighborhoods

• Supporting teachers to ensure an educated populace who are ready to face 21st century challenges.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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Yes, it does appear that Staples' press release was prompted only by this KNS news story he anticipated.

Otherwise, I think he would have been wise to keep his focus on just civic matters and to remain mute about such a personal matter (and presumably he would have).

Given the provocation for the press release, though, I can't fault him for having issued it--except to suggest that he could have made it much more brief.

Potential for character assassination precluded (on this point, at least). Time to move on.

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