Some Council Members Balk At Call For Arriola Resignation - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Davidson County Clerk

Some Council Members Balk At Call For Arriola Resignation

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By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two months ago, the Metro Council joined together in an unanimous vote to ask Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence to resign.

But a poll of Council members suggests that County Clerk John Arriola is getting the benefit of the doubt from some folks who were not willing to do the same for Torrence.

"What has been reported to date is deeply disturbing, but we have to let the process run its proper course," said Mike Jameson, the outgoing representative for District 6 in East Nashville.

On Friday, Council member Robert Duvall filed a resolution asking Arriola to resign. It follows disclosures by NewsChannel 5 Investigates that the clerk pocketed thousands of dollars cash for weddings performed on taxpayer time. He also gave no-bid contracts to friends and put his campaign treasurer on the Metro payroll.
Related story: Council Heading For Vote On John Arriola's Future

The Council is expected to vote next week on Duvall's resolution.
Read Duvall's resolution

Over the weekend, NewsChannel 5 Investigates emailed Council members asking how they anticipated they might vote.

"Based on resident feedback and the admitted actions, I would sadly have to vote: yes," wrote Duane Dominy, Council member for District 28 in the Antioch area.

So what's the difference between David Torrence and John Arriola?

Courthouse insiders say that, for one, Torrence freely admitted he did not work a full-time schedule, while Arriola's political team has tried to fight back.

But the real difference may be that Arriola's political connections with the Council are a lot stronger than Torrence's connections.

Below are the responses that we've received so far from Council members about how they would vote right now on Duvall's resolution. (We'll continue to update as we receive replies.)

Tim Garrett (At-Large): No response

Megan Barry (At-Large): No response

Charlie Tygard (At-Large): "Yes - but really think the criminal investigation and Metro audit need to be completed before we vote on this issue."

Ronnie Steine (At-Large): No response

Jerry Maynard (At-Large): No response

Lonnell Matthews, Jr. (Dist. 1): No response

Frank Harrison (Dist. 2): No response

Walter Hunt (Dist. 3): "I'm going to wait on the investigating agencies."

Michael Craddock (Dist. 4): Yes

Jamie Hollin (Dist. 5): "I will vote aye."

Mike Jameson (Dist. 6): "Right now, I would abstain until the audit investigation is complete. What has been reported to date is deeply disturbing, but we have to let the process run its proper course."

Erik Cole (Dist. 7): No response

Karen Bennett (Dist. 8): No response

Jim Forkum (Dist. 9): "I am undecided until all reporting, claims and charges are finalized against Mr. Arriola. I can then make a fair vote/decision on whether he should resign or not based on all facts. I am also inclined to wait for the audit to be completed that Mayor Dean requested."

Rip Ryman (Dist. 10):
"Since the Mayor has called for an Audit of the County Court Clerk's office and the D.A. has asked the TBI in on this, I would not be in favor of the resolution at this time."

Darren Jernigan (Dist. 11): No response

Jim Gotto (Dist. 12): No response

Carl Burch (Dist. 13): No response

Bruce Stanley (Dist. 14): "Until the audit of the Davidson County Clerk is complete, I will abstain from voting on the requested resignation of an elected official. The results of such an audit will provide needed information on the workings of the office."

Phil Claiborne (Dist. 15): "Given the fact that the DA has voluntarily taken the case and asked the TBI to be involved for suspected criminal activity or intent I would prefer to wait for their findings.  I certainly agree that the Clerk has been assuming in his actions and failed the public trust in a number of ways."

Anna Page (Dist. 16):
Tennessean reports that "in an email, Page said her position on the resolution is that "there is a process in place to investigate Mr. Arriola and I fully support the investigation."

Sandra Moore (Dist. 17): No response

Kristine LaLonde (Dist. 18): No response

Erica Gilmore (Dist. 19): "At this time Mr. Arriola, is under investigation. I would like to see what all of the facts are after DA's, TBI, and the city audit office conclude their investigation."

Buddy Baker (Dist. 20):
No response

Edith Langster (Dist. 21):  "I would like to abstain until the reports from the Mayor's Internal Audit, TBI and District Attorney's Office is completed and shared with the councilmembers."

Eric Crafton (Dist. 22): No response

Emily Evans (Dist. 23):
"I am undecided at this time because of the involvement of the TBI. The possibility of criminal charges suggests suggest we should wait until we have a full picture of the situation."

Jason Holleman (Dist. 24):
No response

Sean McGuire (Dist. 25): "John Arriola's actions that you have reported certainly seem deplorable. However, I would prefer to get the findings of the District Attorney/TBI before making a judgment on how to vote on this resolution. I trust in General Johnson's ability to present us the facts about Mr. Arriola's dealings. Certainly everyone's knee-jerk reaction is to remove him from office. But what we know is his taking the gratuity was not a crime. He absolutely should have disclosed that income, but that can be corrected by amending his disclosures. If it is determined by the TBI that he has committed a crime (either in the hiring of his campaign treasurer and/or in any other infraction) then certainly he should resign or be removed from office. I am hopeful that in the coming week before our August 2nd meeting that General Johnson and the TBI will be able to present us with more information so I can make the most informed vote possible. Until then I will be undecided on my vote on Councilman Duvall's resolution."

Greg Adkins (Dist. 26):
"I would vote yes."

Randy Foster (Dist. 27):
No response

Duane Dominy (Dist. 28): "Based on resident feedback and the admitted actions, I would sadly have to vote: yes. This goes to the matter of integrity and honoring our oath of office. It saddens me to have the issue of asking yet another elected official to step down due to legal or ethical lapses. These type actions reflect poorly on all that serve as elected representatives."

Vivian Wilhoite (Dist. 29): "It is alarming what has been reported relating to Clerk Arriola and it was extremely appropriate for an immediate audit to be initiated. I would like to have all of the findings from the directed audit from the Mayor's office as well as the other investigative bodies of the DA and TBI before making my decision on the Resolution."

Jim Hodge (Dist. 30): No response

Parker Toler (Dist. 31):
"I would like to say first all I am disappointed to no end in John. I am saddened by this development. Based on the information as of now, I will vote yes on the resolution for John to resign."

Sam Coleman (Dist. 32): "I think it would be prudent for the County Clerk to place himself on administrative leave without pay until the matter is dealt with in it's entirety. John and I both love this city and it is not fair to have the city and the council divided and torn apart. I am not sure what the resolution calls for, but this is one remedy to the short term problem that I can offer."

Robert Duvall (Dist. 33): Yes

Carter Todd (Dist. 34): No response

Bo Mitchell (Dist. 35):
No response


Related Stories:
NC5 Investigates: Davidson County Clerk

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