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NC5 Investigates: General Sessions Court

Mayor Calls Ticket Fixing 'Unacceptable,' Issues Warning

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Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Nashville Mayor Karl Dean

Stop the ticket fixing -- and stop it now!

That was the word Tuesday from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Dean delivered the message in a letter sent to every department head in Metro government.

It follows an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation that exposed special treatment for special folks.

"What you've documented alone is pretty impressive -- it shows sort of a systemic issue here," Dean told NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

Dean says the ticket-fixing allegations uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates were bad enough. But what really bothered him was our list, which included three dozen or so Metro employees, who may have received favorable treatment.

"By having employees have special access to court or having access to getting tickets dismissed, that reduces public confidence."

While the traffic violations bureau has now posted signs restricting access to tickets, Dean has now gone farther. In the letter just sent to Metro department heads, the mayor calls the ticket fixing "unacceptable" and warns of "disciplinary action" if it continues.

Read the mayor's ticket-fixing memo
Read Metro's ethics law, how to file a complaint
Read the mayor's executive order on ethics

"If people think they can fix tickets in Davidson County and work for the Metropolitan Government, they are wrong," he told Williams.

"I think if this happens again in the days and weeks and months and years ahead, as long as I'm mayor, if you want to do this, you won't be working here."

Already, two volunteer rescue workers in the mayor's office of emergency management have lost their jobs over ticket-fixing allegations -- and other Metro employees remain under investigation.

In addition, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has learned that police have now opened an internal affairs investigation into the possible involvement of police officers in the ticket-fixing scheme.

Recently, District Attorney General Torry Johnson told Williams that "I really do believe that the first step is that you have to have an audit."

But while Johnson said he was waiting on Circuit Court Clerk Ricky Rooker to take the next step, Metro's auditor says Rooker hasn't requested an audit -- an audit that might find evidence of misconduct within his own office.

"If an audit's necessary, I have no hesitation to ask for it," the mayor said.

But Dean added that, when it comes to searching for more evidence of misconduct, that shouldn't be his job.

"I don't want to spend the next three years or two years that I'm mayor looking at tickets. But I do want this problem to come to an end. I do want us to get it right. And I do want there to be accountability."

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