MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — New troubles for embattled Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and his daughter, Kelsey.
Already facing scrutiny from state insurance regulators and Murfreesboro police, you can now add the Tennessee Attorney General's office to that growing list.
Now, we've found the AG is preparing to haul the two into court to collect some $60,000 in unpaid campaign fines.
Shortly before Murfreesboro police started hauling out boxloads of files and other documents from Bill Ketron's Murfreesboro insurance agency on Wednesday, the former state senator and current Rutherford County mayor told reporters he wanted everyone to know that he was cooperating fully with the police investigation into possible insurance fraud.
"As a elected official here in Rutherford County, I've always been transparent. That's why I'm here speaking today," Ketron said yesterday.
But Ketron was not at all transparent when we asked about some $60,000 in campaign finance fines he owes the state dating back to his time in the Tennessee Senate.
When NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Ketron, "Why has that $60-thousand not been paid?" he would not give us an answer.
State lawmakers are required to submit regular filings to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, showing how much money their campaign has taken in, who that money came from, and how it was spent. And like many lawmakers, Ketron also has his own political action committee, and those too are required to file the same sort of paperwork.
Lawmakers often don't do the paperwork themselves, but they have a treasurer instead who does.
And for Bill Ketron that person is his daughter, Kelsey.
But she apparently failed to turn in a finance reports for Ketron's campaign and PAC, Quest, when they were due.
At one point last summer, Kelsey Ketron sent an email to the Registry Board, after turning in two of the late reports.
She wrote in part, "I'm sorry I am just getting back on all of this but I have been managing dads (sic) campaign and trying to plan my wedding at the same time."
The Registry of Election Finance went on to fine Bill Ketron's campaign and PAC last year $10,000 for six late filings. In all, $60,000.
But the state told NewsChannel 5 Investigates neither Ketron nor his campaign or his PAC ever paid or even acknowledged those fines.
So the Election Registry sent the case to the Attorney General's Office which sent four letters to the Ketrons demanding payment. The first letter was sent last October. Another one went out in January. And two more were sent this past March. But again, the Ketrons never responded.
Three of those letters were sent directly to Kelsey Ketron at the family's insurance agency in Murfreesboro where she works and where at least three customers said they paid her for insurance policies, but later discovered they had no coverage.
Murfreesboro Police now have an open criminal investigation into what went on at the insurance office which led to Wednesday's raid.
That's where Bill Ketron told reporters, "I've always been transparent."
Yet when asked why his campaign finance fines were still unpaid, he was anything but transparent and said to re-check our sources.
"Probably if you go back and talk with them again before you run that story, you might want to do that," Ketron advised.
We have checked and re-checked and both the Registry of Election Finance and the Attorney General's office told us they have not heard from the Ketrons.
The AG's Office said they are now preparing a lawsuit, the next step in trying to collect those unpaid fines, some of which are now some 300 days past due. And unless the Ketrons contact
the AG soon, the office said it will file that lawsuit.