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Clarksville Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission Employee files grievance against Planning Commission Member

 
Hank Bonecutter

Hank Bonecutter

Montgomery County, TN – An employee of the Regional Planning Commission, John Spainhoward, has filed a grievance against Mabel Larson, who is a member of the Regional Planning Commission appointed by Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, after Larson allegedly threatened his job after accusing him of sending an email that accused  her of ethics violations.

The e-mail in question was sent from a Robert Goodman, on Thursday March 1st to various media outlets and Clarksville City Attorney Lance Baker. There is no Robert Goodman, it’s a fake name.

The e-mail accuses Mrs Larson, who is vice chairman of the Regional Planning Commission, of violating ethics policies of the City of Clarksville and Montgomery County, when she voted on items before the commission that involved a McDonalds restaurant on Second Street.  Mrs Larson is the owner of McDonalds restaurants in Clarksville.

The e-mail also accuses Mrs Larson of voting on subdivision plat approval and rezoning of property for Crocker/Ellis partnership.  Mrs Larson has a close relationship with Harry and Les Crocker.

During the course of the e-mail, it was indicated that not only was Larson present at the meeting where those cases were discussed, she did not disclose that she had a conflict of interest in the matter, did not recuse herself from the deliberations and in fact, voted “Yes” on each of the rezonings, subdivisions and site plans.

The source of the e-mail is what’s caused the problem. The potential ethics violations is not what this story is about.

In a confrontation at the offices of the Regional Planning Commission on April 19th, Mrs Larson asked to speak to Spainhoward, “In your office.”

After going to the office, this is what happened according to a sworn affidavit submitted by Spainhoward:

When he asked Mrs Larson what he could to to help, he said I could tell she was upset and went on to start telling me about an e-mail complaint that was submitted alleging ethics violations.

She went on to say that Mr Lance Baker (Clarksville City Attorney) had investigated the matters and determined that no wrongdoing had been done and that he deleted the e-mail.

Then she went on to say that she had the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department conduct an investigation into who sent the e-mail and that a court order was issued to have the FBI trace the e-mail regarding her or any other Planning Commissioner.

The Sheriff’s office has not commented on this story.

Mrs Larson continued to discuss the email with other staff at the Regional Planning Commission, including interim director Audrea Smithson and commission chairman Mike Harrison, along with Spainhoward:

Spainhoward: “I will ask you again, are you accusing me of sending that email?”

Larson: “I know who sent that email, I had it traced. It had to come from someone in this office because no one else would have access to all that information.”

Mike Harrison: “Mabel, all our agendas and minutes are on our website and are public record.”

Larson: “Mike, they had information back to 2009 and someone from this office sent that email and I know who.”

Spainhoward: “I swear on my life, my children’s lives and the Bible that i did not send that email. I have not even seen the email. I know it can be traced and I’m not that stupid.”

Larson: “The Sheriff’s Department has investigated this for me as a favor and they have given me the paperwork showing me who sent it.”

Harrison: “Mabel if that is the case I will go to the Sheriff’s Department and get a copy of that report because it’s public record, especially if they did the investigation on taxpayers’ dollars.”

Larson: “No Mike, they will not give you a copy.”

Harrison: “Yes they will, they have to it is public record.”

Larson: “Mike Bowers will not give it to you.”

Harrison: “I am not going to ask Mike.”

Larson: “Sheriff Lewis will not give it to you either.”

Larson: “Mike there was a court order requesting the FBI look into this investigation and they have done so and I know who sent the email.”

Audrea: “Mrs Larson, I do not believe John sent the email, did someone send the email that is not currently employed by the RPC office?”

Larson: “Audrea, I am not going to tell you who sent the email, I just want everyone in this office to know that I know who sent it.”

The chairman of the planning commission Mike Harrison said that next week there would be a called meeting of the board members to discuss the grievance.

According to sources within the planning commission offices, the confrontation has caused a great deal of stress and anxiety within the office, and has caused John Spainhoward considerable restless nights and fear for his job.

In our next installment of this story, we will attempt to verify that there was an investigation conducted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office, the FBI, and if there was an actual court order and by whom.


About Hank Bonecutter

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