Could John Arriola's Resignation Be Close? - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Davidson County Clerk

Could John Arriola's Resignation Be Close?

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By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Could Davidson County Clerk John Arriola soon be on his way out?

Thursday night, the embattled Davidson County Clerk refused to rule out that possibility.

That came as Arriola made his first appearance before the Metro Council since it voted in February to ask him to resign.

Before the hearing, several Council members questioned whether Arriola would even show up, saying there were persistent courthouse rumors that his resignation might be imminent.

But he was there with his wife and daughter.

And, when we tried to ask him about that, the Davidson County Clerk used them as shields.

"Do you anticipate resigning, sir?" we asked Arriola as he walked away from the podium.

He then cut in front of his wife, Michelle, who blocked our camera.

"Will you leave us alone, you creeper!" she interjected.

Still, we asked, "Mr. Arriola, do you anticipate resigning?"

His daughter then stepped in front of the camera, saying: "Please stop."

The county clerk made a quick exit, leaving behind speculation about his future.

"I get calls every day wondering what the status is and where the district attorney is -- wish we had a clue," said Metro Council member Charlie Tygard.

If Arriola was planning to resign, he showed little sign as he came before a Council committee to discuss next year's budget.

It was his first budget hearing since a scathing audit that found he had pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for weddings he and his staff performed on taxpayer time.

Arriola also brushed aside findings about the campaign treasurer that he put on the Metro payroll, calling such audits a "tool" to make the office better.

That drew a rebuke from Tygard.

"They are a tool, but when people are getting paid undocumented hours and what not, that is beyond a tool," Tygard said. "That's a big warning flag there."

"Well, we disagree with that," Arriola answered.

If Arriola did resign at this stage, it likely would be as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates reached out to Davidson County DA Torry Johnson's office. A spokeswoman there said they don't comment on plea negotiations.

In the event of a resignation, the Metro Council would appoint a temporary replacement for the county clerk until an election could be held.

E-mail: pwilliams@newschannel5.com

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