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County Clerk Apologizes for Slots, Aide Pushing Reporter

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Chief Deputy Clerk Joey Workman shoves Phil Williams. Chief Deputy Clerk Joey Workman shoves Phil Williams.
Davidson County Clerk John Arriola Davidson County Clerk John Arriola

By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Davidson County Clerk John Arriola has apologized for the presence of slot machines in his office on St. Patrick's Day and for one of his top aides "inappropriately pushing a news reporter."

Arriola said he was "not proud of what happened on St. Patrick's Day."

"Even though I did not know this was happening and even though everything was technically legal and ethical, it should not have happened, and I take full responsibility," the county clerk said in a statement released late Thursday.

He added that he has suspended deputy clerk Joey Workman without pay for two days "for inappropriately pushing a news reporter out of a break room at the clerk's office"and suspended clerk Kelly Farmer, who brought the slot machines to work.

Arriola also apologized to this reporter and directed Joey Workman to apologize as well.

CLICK HERE to read Arriola's entire statement.

That came as Metro police concluded that no gambling laws were broken by the presence of the slot machines in the county clerk's offices.

Vice agents were dispatched to the government offices Thursday morning following a story aired by NewsChannel 5 Investigates. The slot machines had already been removed from the premises by the time that investigators arrived.

Mumford said that, during the course of the investigation, agents discovered that the slot machines had been provided by Farmer, who operates a side business providing DJ entertainment for parties.

Farmer apparently had brought the slot machines into the Metro offices "to test for his side business" and to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Mumford said. Each employee was provided 40 tokens, and Farmer personally paid out $25 in cash prizes to those who hit big on the slots.

"In this case, the employees did not risk anything of value to play the machines, so it's not gambling," said police spokesperson Kristin Mumford.

It follows a NewsChannel 5 investigation that caught Metro employees playing the machines in a break room during normal business hours.

Clerk Gets Physical Over St. Patrick's Slot Machines

One employee initially said that she was on the clock, but then later asked, "What time is it?" Another employee left the slot machines and returned to work right after NewsChannel 5 Investigates showed up.

Employees were playing with tokens, but NewsChannel 5 Investigates was told that cash prizes were being offered. At the time, no one would identify the source of the money.

Workman, who refused to identify himself as a person of authority in the office, got physical with a NewsChannel 5 Investigates team that was attempting to observe the use of the slot machines. 

Arriving later at his office, Arriola refused to answer any questions about the payment of cash prizes or the source of the money.

"Why are you so uptight about St. Patrick's Day?" Arriola asked.

E-mail: pwilliams@newschannel5.com

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