Metro Council votes to censure Jonathan Hall after lack of campaign finance records

Metro Councilman Jonathan Hall #1
Posted at 9:36 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 22:48:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After years of campaign finance troubles, Metro Councilman Jonathan Hall found himself censured Tuesday night as a result of a vote among its members.

Thirty-three members voted yes with only two abstaining.

"There's been no process before like this. Vote. Go ahead. Do this. There's never been a conversation about accountability," Hall said before council members.

The Metro Board of Ethical Conduct found in early March — that since being elected in 2018 — Hall has not filed annual financial disclosures with the Metro Clerk two of the years and that he filed the reports in the third year late.

A censure — while a public rebuke of behavior — doesn't withhold Hall from any committee appointments or voting privileges. Hall represents District One, which includes Whites Creek, Joelton, Bordeaux and other parts of North Nashville. He has announced he will not run for re-election for another term.

Board members acted on a sworn complaint filed by two of Hall's constituents in District 1 alleged not only did Hall fail to file the reports as Metro rules require, but that he failed to report at least two large judgments against him.

Hall was ordered to pay $7,100 to a Nashville company after he failed to pay for campaign materials the company had created for him. The other judgment, for $35,000, was filed against Hall after he defaulted on a car loan.

The Board agreed that Hall should have reported the $7,100, but that he would not have been required to report the larger judgment on the auto loan, even though Hall's Metro Council salary is being garnished to make payments on what is owed on the Ford F-250 truck.

In the end, the Board decided that whether Hall should have reported any of these items was a moot point since the bigger issue was that Hall had failed to file the reports this information would have been a part of.

Hall acknowledged he had not turned in the reports but insisted he is working on it. He called it a "daunting task" and claimed it was difficult because he has ADHD. He said he tried to file some of the reports online but had technical problems.

Hall is still facing a $360,000 fine by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance for failing to turn in campaign financial disclosures and failing to provide all of the required information on them. The state board imposed the fine at its meeting earlier this year after Hall failed to show up. He said Monday he's notified the Registry that he'd like to appeal its decision.