NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – The Davidson County attorney’s office has called irregularities in a city councilor’s campaign disclosures “concerning” and “disturbing.”
This follows a NewsChannel 5 investigation into campaign reports and financial disclosures by District 1 City Councilor Jonathan Hall.
Last month we told you about the complaint filed with the prosecutor’s office against Councilor Hall. In it, two of his constituents alleged that Hall incorrectly reported campaign donations and expenses in 2018 and 2019.
The prosecutor’s office reviewed Hall’s complaint and campaign reports and wrote in a summary: “Inaccuracies, omissions and failure to comply with regulations are hard to pass off as improper or improper. ignorance of the requirements “.
As our investigation first revealed, Hall failed to identify who made large donations to his campaign, as required by law. He said he donated over $ 8,000 to his own campaign without itemizing those contributions. Additionally, he reported thousands of dollars in bank and cash withdrawals, as well as various purchases and refunds to himself without itemizing those payments.
But what the prosecutor’s office called “most disturbing” was that a report on campaign finance showed a negative balance of nearly $ 500 while the next report said the campaign had a balance. positive over $ 1,000.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Ewald wrote: “There is no documentation or explanation for this discrepancy and there is (obviously) no identification of the sources of funds deposited to make the campaign solvent.
Ewald said he sent Hall a letter in July asking for answers and got no response. A month later, the same letter was hand-delivered to Hall’s house and council office and still has not been answered.
Ewald summed up his findings by saying, “In my opinion the allegations are valid,” adding, “Therefore, I think we need to take the next step in the process.
As required by state law, the DA is now asking the State Office of Ethics and Campaign Finance to take up the case and determine whether Hall should face civil fines.
Meanwhile, the Metro Board of Ethical Conduct voted Thursday to hold a hearing to determine whether Hall violated ethical standards for failing to submit annual financial information completely separate from his campaign expense reports.
Elected officials are required to disclose their employment, investments and other financial interests each year.
As we found out, since being elected in 2018, Hall has only filed one annual report with Metro.
The same two voters, Murray Philip and Mechele Neal, who filed the complaint with the prosecutor’s office, also filed a complaint with the Board of Ethical Conduct because they say Hall should be held accountable.
At Thursday’s Ethical Conduct Board meeting, Metro’s legal department told board members that if the allegation that Hall failed to file annual financial disclosures was true, it would violate the standard of conduct of Metro.
Hall maintained after the meeting that there is no shortage of required forms, they are just late.
He said NewsChannel 5 survey, “I have to do things in a timely manner and I haven’t always done things in a timely manner. And that’s it. It’s not ‘not done’. But not at the right time.”
But one of the voters who filed the complaint did not believe it.
“It’s been four years and he still hasn’t filed. It’s definitely delayed,” Philip said, adding, “And he makes million dollar decisions for taxpayers and doesn’t file the forms that are. supposed to give us confidence that it is operating in an ethical and legal manner. This is of great concern to me personally. “
The Commission hearing will take place at the end of next month.
TO READ THE PREVIOUS RELATED STORY:
Complaints Lead Metro City Councilor Investigations for Ethics and Campaign Funding Violations