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Federal Assistance to be Awarded to 18 Counties Harmed by June Flooding

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 14, 2014:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornado touchdowns were part of the storm system. The first tornado, an EF-1 with wind speeds in excess of 80 m.p.h., left a 12-mile debris path across Lake and Obion Counties on June 7. The other confirmed tornado, rated an EF-0, touched down in Kingston, Tenn. More than 28,000 customers were left without power due to wide-spread damage from downed trees and broken power lines.

The disaster declaration provides FEMA’s Public Assistance to the declared counties for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.

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TN AG Files Suit for Removal of Lewis County Trustee over Missing Funds

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper; September 19, 2013:

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has filed suit seeking the removal of Lewis County Trustee Clark D. Carroll from office for allegedly stealing approximately $45,000 from his office and falsifying financial records to conceal the theft, Cooper announced today.

The ouster lawsuit was filed Wednesday afternoon in the Lewis County Circuit Court based on information uncovered during a Tennessee Comptroller’s audit. Carroll was elected as Lewis County Trustee and took office on Sept. 1, 2010. The suit alleges that he wrote checks payable to himself or to cash and failed to deposit cash received by his office for the payment of property taxes on numerous occasions totaling approximately $45,000 between Oct. 24, 2011 and June 15, 2013. The lawsuit further alleges Carroll admitted to state investigators that he unlawfully took the funds for personal use.

As Trustee of Lewis County, Carroll is paid $58,739 per year to collect taxes from Lewis County citizens. His term expires Aug. 31, 2014. Based on state law, the Attorney General is required to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and institute ouster proceedings against a public officer if there is reasonable cause to believe the officer has violated the law in connection with the duties of his office.

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury began conducting an annual audit of Carroll’s office in July 2012. Auditors found that Carroll wrote checks from the county’s bank account to himself and subsequently cashed the checks. The audit also found that cash received by Carroll’s office had not been deposited into county accounts. Further investigation revealed that Carroll fabricated information on check memos, check stubs, and false receipts for deposits. The lawsuit cites Carroll for theft of property, official misconduct, forgery, failure to deposit official funds, and failure to reimburse public funds.

The Attorney General’s Office has asked the Court to suspend Carroll pending final adjudication of the case and has requested a hearing.