State House District 45 candidate Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers (Ret.) responded today to accusations today from Debra Maggart regarding an ethics question on the form submitted by Rogers in concert with Tennessee election law.
“The ink wasn’t dry on my petition before my opponent began announcing to her colleagues on the Hill that she would bury me with my husband’s past bankruptcy,” commented Rogers. “We had received inquiries from several reputable media outlets regarding this issue and they dismissed it as a non-story. Now that TNReport has taken the bait and Maggart has started her smear-tactic, personal destruction radio ads, I am compelled to respond to these “bully” tactics. I suspect that reputable media outlets have heard many stories like ours since the floods of 2010 where entire neighborhoods and business parks were reduced to bankruptcy. I can only conclude that my opponent believes she is entitled to the seat she holds and is getting desperate. Let the record show that we have not made an issue of my opponent’s past failed business.”
The Ethics disclosure questionnaire filled out by all prospective candidates asks whether a candidate has been “discharged” from a bankruptcy within the past five years. “She answered the question correctly,” said Rogers’ campaign Manager, Jeff Hartline. “We checked with counsel and did extra research with the Rogers’ attorney to confirm that Courtney answered the question within the letter and spirit of the law. In fact, the TNReport story found out the same thing through its own research with the comment from the bankruptcy attorney they consulted. Once a bankruptcy is “discharged”, the individuals involved are released from the action and the Trustee goes about his/her work paying off creditors. This can take years and the individuals involved are not consulted in any further actions.”
Hartline continued, “The language of the question was written by lawyers and is very specific, ‘In the past five years, have you been discharged from…’. It was just a matter of time before Rep. Maggart was able to get someone to treat this as a real story. As for Maggart’s failed business, you only have her assertions about its demise. I’m pleased for her that she did not have creditors hounding her for payment. Otherwise, she would have been in the same situation as the Rogers found themselves in during 2005. One wonders whether any creditor would have pursued a sitting State Representative for fear of reprisals.”
“But the issue in this election is not Maggart’s failed business or the Rogers’ business setback. The issue is her failed leadership in manipulating the legislative process to suit her Big Business and Lobbyist contributors and her lack of representation of her constituents. The issue is whether Lt. Col. Rogers’ character, leadership experience and moral soundness benefit and represent the citizens of District 45 better than Maggart’s. The clear answer to that question is ‘Yes’.”
Hartline concluded, “If ethics is at the top of Rep. Maggart’s list of qualifications, perhaps she should answer to the voters about her $5,000 fine in 2002 for an election ethics violation by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.”
Rogers further commented, “My husband had a dream of owning a business and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 smashed that dream. We did all we could to save the company and we could not. This experience has made us very sensitive to tens of thousands of men and women in our military who struggle with financial problems while defending the nation. And as for keeping secrets, I have not been keeping our past financial problems a secret from the voters. I have met many people going door to door who have been through exactly what we have been through. I have discussed our experiences with them and they have been appreciative of my honesty. In the final analysis, I trust the voters to let their voices be heard.”
Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers (Ret.), a 17-year resident of Goodlettsville, is a candidate for the State House in TN-45 (Sumner County). Find out more about Rogers at www.votecourtney.com.