A resolution, filed in the Metro Council by Robert Duvall, asks Davidson County Clerk John Arriola to resign -- following questions raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.more>>
By Phil Williams Chief Investigative Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The stage is now set for a vote in the Metro Council on whether John Arriola should stay or go. On Friday, one council member filed a resolution calling for the embattled county clerk to resign.
It follows questions first raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates and comes just a week after district attorney Torry Johnson announced that he was asking the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to open a criminal investigation.
But Metro Council member Robert Duvall said that could take months and the public should not have to wait.
"You come out to my neighborhood and go into the grocery store or drug store -- I can't walk in there without somebody stopping me wanting to know what's going on with Arriola and why hasn't the Council acted," Duvall explained.
The public outrage has spread from the Davidson County Clerk's Office where protesters gathered Thursday to chant "John Arriola has to go, John Arriola has to go, John Arriola has to go."
And it has hit talk radio, with conservative WWTN host Michael Delgiorno asking his viewers, "The question is, why isn't he gone -- when he's still at work? is this the kind of lying, deceitful person you want as a Davidson County clerk?"
So Duvall filed the resolution, asking the rest of the Council to join him in calling for Arriola to follow the example of former Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence -- and resign. Read Duvall's resolution
"We have continued to find more and more that appears to be every bit as bad or maybe worse than David Torrence was ever doing," Duvall said. "I think David Torrence just didn't show up to work."
Our exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation exposed how Arriola was using his Metro offices and staff for wedding ceremonies, then pocketing thousands of dollars in cash that he called a "gratuity."
We also revealed thousands of dollars that Arriola spent to promote his own name and face -- apparently without following proper purchasing laws.
He also put his campaign treasurer on the Metro payroll -- without making him document the time he worked.
Just this week, the Metro Finance Department cut off Arriola's ability to make any purchases without first getting approval.
"For us to let a criminal investigation carry out, which could be months, and allow somebody to continue to operate their business as usual, which we know is wrong, it's time to ask John to step aside and do the honorable thing," Duvall said.
While the Council cannot force the county clerk out, Duvall hopes it sends a message that Arriola will hear: "John, if you're listening to this, we the people think it's time you go. All you got to do is listen to the people in our neighborhoods."
The Council could vote on that resolution week after next.
As for John Arriola, he has repeatedly refused to comment since this controversy reached a boiling point.
From all indications, it's unlikely that he will voluntarily resign -- although Duvall says he hopes that will change.
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