Tennessee Dem Gov Candidate Karl Dean Under Fire Over Misuse of Disaster Relief

A new report says $7.4 million in federal disaster relief was misused by Dean.

The RGA writes:

Tennessee Democrat gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean has come under fire by the press and his primary opponent for misusing flood dollars during his tenure as Mayor of Nashville, and is now making misleading statements about the controversy. A report by WSMV’s I-Team found that $7.4 million in federal disaster relief was misused by Dean and used for “riverfront development,” including building an amphitheater, rather than going towards flood victims in need.

Dean even falsely claimed at a recent gubernatorial forum that, “The money that was used was used for flood mitigation, not for building an amphitheater.” This is false. WSMV “reviewed thousands of pages of invoices, budgets, HUD correspondence and internal e-mails that confirm the use of flood disaster funds for the design and engineering of Ascend Amphitheater.”

Karl Dean’s Democrat opponent, Craig Fitzhugh, has seized on the issue, saying that it undermines the “public trust.”

It’s clear that Karl Dean not only misused taxpayer dollars, harming flood victims, but also won’t be honest about it. By misleading voters, Karl Dean demonstrates that he lacks the character to serve as governor.

WSMV: Former mayor denies flood money went toward amphitheater

Last week the News4 I-Team reported that $7.4 million in HUD disaster relief money didn't go to flood victims; it went to design and engineering work for riverfront development, including Ascend Amphitheater.

Dean said during the debate, "The money that was used was used for flood mitigation, not for building an amphitheater."

Dean's former communications director Janel Lacy reinforced the message Wednesday morning, tweeting “strong rebuttal by Karl Dean in response to a false statement about the use of flood recovery funds”

...

The I-Team asked to interview anyone on his campaign staff and offered to bring thousands of pages of documentation to the interview for their review. Lacy asked the I-Team’s Nancy Amons to email documents and said that they would respond after reviewing the material.

The I-Team reviewed thousands of pages of invoices, budgets, HUD correspondence and internal e-mails that confirm the use of flood disaster funds for the design and engineering of Ascend Amphitheater.

The work was overseen by Commonwealth Development, whose CEO Larry Atema is a friend of Rich Riebeling. Riebeling was Dean’s finance director and is now Metro‘s Chief Operating Officer.

Dean's finance office signed off on the invoices for the Riverfront Development and Ascend Amphitheater project.

One invoice for $110,884, for example, was submitted by Commonwealth on July 31, 2015, with the heading “Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater.”

Another invoice dated March 17, 2014, included the tasks of drawing “building floor plans, base drawings, finish plans and specifications.”

4 days, 10 hours ago

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee leads letter penned to President Biden on Infrastructure Act

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and 15 other Republican governors have penned a letter to President Joe Biden asking for more state control in how funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are implemented.

4 days, 12 hours ago

Gretchen Whitmer’s Dark Money Hypocrisy

After preaching 'transparency,' Dem gov partners with dark money nonprofit to raise millions

6 days, 12 hours ago

Gov. Doug Ducey: My budget makes major investments that will leave Arizona even stronger

My 2023 budget invests in key areas like education and water while cutting taxes and paying down debt. That will leave Arizona stronger.

6 days, 15 hours ago

Republican Glenn Youngkin sworn in as governor of Virginia

Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn on Saturday as the next governor of Virginia, delivering an optimistic message about empowering parents, overcoming COVID-19 and providing economic relief to families and businesses

1 week, 4 days ago

Unemployment agency pegs likely pandemic fraud losses at more than $8.5 billion

Michigan's jobless aid agency lost more than $8.5 billion to suspected fraudulent payments amid record claims and persistent attempts at fraud during the pandemic

1 week, 5 days ago

Gov. McMaster urges lawmakers to cut SC taxes, raise state employee and officer pay

Gov. Henry McMaster called on South Carolina lawmakers to raise pay for state employees and law enforcement officers by 2%, all while urging legislators to also cut taxes