By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor
County Executive Mike Gannon took the opportunity Saturday, March 13, to refute allegations made against him at the March Cannon County Commission meeting.
"I expect to be given equal time," Gannon said at Saturday's commission meeting. The allegations were made about Gannon's dealings with the previous Industrial Development Board.
"There was never any danger of the taxpayers having to pay a dime," Gannon said, referring to when Cumberland Molding declared bankruptcy.
Gannon produced the paperwork showing that the million dollars worth of building and equipment stood as collateral for the loan and that Cannon County wasn't responsible for the money.
At the March session, Industrial Development Board chairman Randall Reid and co-chairman Doug Bodary made a series of allegations against Gannon including that taxpayers could be held responsible for the loan if it defaulted.
"The land and equipment was the collateral for the loan," Gannon said, waving yellow-scored documents to prove his statement.
"It the loan had defaulted, we would lose the building and property, but the county wasn't libel for the IDB," he said.
The IDB, much like the 911 District and the School Board, is separate from the County Commission.
Gannon said most of the charges made against him were for actions taken nearly a decade ago. And that he had taken the opportunity since the previous meeting to go over the available documentation including listening to tapes recorded at IDB meetings back in 2003.
"Some of the statements made a month ago were wrong and they shouldn't stand," the county executive said.
At the end of the March meeting, commissioners voted to send information about the IDB to the Tennessee State Comptroller and to District Attorney General Bill Whitesell.
"I wish you would get the DA up here. I want to talk to him," Gannon said.
"The election is in two years and they are trying to turn it around and make it bad," he said.
Gannon said the IDB deal was a good one. Cannon County got a million dollar building that soon will be three-quarters paid off.
"That was a smart move and I wish we had another one," he said.
Gannon pointed out that the County Commission had previously approved the IDB loans in-question twice.
Debate during the commission meeting quickly turned to a section of the previously approved minutes.
Commissioner Mark Barker wanted to strike a portion of the previously approved summary of minutes dealing with allegations made against Gannon.
"Some of the statements made a month ago were wrong. They shouldn't stand," said Barker.
"This is what Randall Reid said. We can't take it out," answered Commission Chairman Bob Stoetzel.
It was pointed out, that the summary approved by the commission isn't the actual minutes of the commission.
By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor
First of all, if the IDB did not have the funds to pay the mortgage on the current loans taken out by Mr. Gannon 10 years ago and had to default and the building was sold and
the sale did not cover the balance then absolutely 100% the citizens of this county would be responsible to pay the remaining balance.
Secondly and more importantly, where specifically is the so called equipment that stands for collateral for the loan. I would like to know where it is, the serial numbers and the current value because I have never seen a single piece of equipment to date.
How about we all take a moment to see what the State of Tennessee Comptrollers Office said:
Page 47 of the State audit clearly says...."Other loans are direct obligations and pledge the full faith and credit of the government..." which means the citizens of this county are on the hook in the event a loan was defaulted on.
Read it for yourself straight from the State Auditors report.