Election Uproar: Gannon Punches Back At Pody
KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor
Friday, July 9, 2010 12:19 pm
A Wilson County man who is running for the District 46 State House of Representatives seat has made some statements about Cannon County which are factually untrue, according to County Executive Mike Gannon.
Mark Pody, a Republican, is reported to have said during a campaign speech at J.P. Fine Swine Bar-B-Cue this week that "within an 18 month period, two companies approached Cannon County to bring business and jobs to Cannon County. One was Smith and Wesson, gun manufacturer, who was interested in manufacturing and distributing advertising items, eventually employing 75-100 people and a company that would have manufactured bulletproof glass."
J.P. Fine Swine Bar-B-Cue is owned by Jason Pittman, the son of George Pittman, a candidate for Cannon County Executive. Jason Pittman is a candidate for road commissioner. Anna Pittman, George's wife and Jason's mother, is a candidate for county commissioner.
Regarding the claim that Smith & Wesson approached Cannon County about bringing a division of its business here, Gannon said Friday:
"Only one person has ever said anything to me about Smith and Wesson and that is Stanley Dobson," Gannon said. "He stopped me in the hall (at the courthouse) one day and asked me if I would be interested in talking to them about having them come here to start a business that would make advertising items like shirts and caps.
"I told him to have their representative contact me immediately and I would get them in there (the building in the industrial park which formerly housed Cumberland Mold) as quickly as possible.
Dobson is the only person I ever heard anything about it from, and I have never been contacted by anyone from Smith and Wesson," Gannon said.
Dobson is Cannon County's Administrator of Elections. He said Friday that he had talked to Gannon about Smith and Wesson, and had also talked with people he knows at Smith and Wesson about information he had heard about the company possibly wanting to move part of their operations to Cannon County.
Dobson said the two sources he spoke with at Smith and Wesson had no knowledge of the situation, and that both said the company was not looking into expanding anywhere at this time.
Dobson also indicated he believed Pody's source of information was "a Republican in Rutherford County" but could not elaborate further.
Pody said Friday the information came from "citizens of Cannon County" but did not specify whom.
Pody also said he has been talking to a number of companies about moving to locations within District 46, but said he had not contacted officials in any of the counties about his efforts because doing so would be "premature."
According to his campaign Web site, Pody is "an owner of a small business which specializes in financial planning and insurance solutions, has multiple business locations throughout Tennessee."
With regard to Pody's claim that a company which manufacturers bullet-proof glass decided not to locate here because "This is not the county that wants us to do business here," Gannon said:
"They were shown the Cumberland Mold building, they met with members of the Industrial Development Board, Upper Cumberland development officials and several state officials," Gannon said. "We were told the search was narrowed to us and a place in Arkansas and we were told the reason they chose Arkansas was that one of the owners of the company lives in Arkansas."
Gannon said to the best of his recollection he has met Pody only once, when they shook hands at the recent Candidate Mixer sponsored by the Cannon County Chamber of Commerce.
"I have never spoken with the man in my life about Smith and Wesson, a bullet-proof glass manufacturer or any other business that might be wanting to relocate here, and to my knowledge he has not spoken to anyone with the IDB or the chamber of commerce about them either," Gannon said.
Pody is a resident of Wilson County, and is running for the seat currently held by Stratton Bone, also of Wilson County, who is running for re-election.
"I don't know much about Mark Pody and I don't know where he's getting his information from, but it is factually untrue and maybe he needs to reevaluate his sources of information," Gannon said.