Sheriff candidates clash over jail food

Anderson County Jail Sandwich Lunch

A hand-picked crew of nine inmates prepares peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on white bread for lunch at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Wednesday. Oak Ridge Today was allowed to take pictures of the kitchen, food storage area, and coolers and freezers, but not the inmates.

 

Sheriff: Despite campaign claims, jail menu conservative, with average meal $1.10

Challenger stands by his pie, ice cream claims

CLINTON—The menu at the Anderson County jail at lunchtime Wednesday was simple and spartan: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and milk.

It doesn’t appear to be an unusual meal at the jail. The menu this week includes three similar lunches with 1/4 cup of peanut butter and jelly mix, two slices of bread, and 8 oz. of milk or chocolate milk.

Anthony Lay

Anthony Lay

Other meals on the menu this week—the jail can serve up to 8,000 per week—also call for small portions of meat and bread, fruits and vegetables, and beans and milk.

But Anthony Lay, a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff, has raised questions about what inmates are eating. He has suggested they’re eating luxuriously, enjoying pies, cobblers, cookies, and cake. Lay has said the jail appears to be operating a bakery, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

“Fresh baked (double chunk) cookies; cherry, blackberry, and blueberry cobbler; pumpkin and apple pie with Cool Whip—these are all delicious,” Lay said in a June 26 press release. “But at the end of the day, taxpayers foot the bill, and they don’t expect us to offer luxuries to folks who, let’s face it, are in jail for a reason.”

Paul White

Paul White

Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat seeking his third term in the August 7 election, has dismissed Lay’s claims as inaccurate and misleading.

“The jail does not operate a bakery,” White said in a July 1 statement.

He said the jail menus are quite conservative. They include a cold sandwich for lunch. The average meal costs $1.10, White said. [Read more...]

Sheriff candidate suspended by THP in May says he’s a political target

Anthony Lay

Anthony Lay

Note: This story was last updated at 8:15 p.m. July 23.

A candidate for Anderson County sheriff suspended by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in May said he has been the target of political attacks.

THP Trooper Anthony Lay was suspended for five days in May for unsatisfactory job performance, a spokesperson said Monday. The suspension was based on several factors, including insubordination, neglect of duty, failure to perform the duties of his job, non-compliance with an internal database system, and having an unsecured patrol unit in a populated area, said Dalya Qualls, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety.

The administrative review that led to Lay’s suspension was received in April 2014.

Lay said he had been off work for five months because of back surgery, and Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark reported that Lay had not turned in some requested case file documents. Lay said he did not receive the letter requesting the documents, and the request letters were apparently sent to a Knoxville office.

“I have received no documentation requests on it whatsoever,” Lay said. [Read more...]

County officials urged to hire attorneys in ouster suit as legal fees rise

Jay Yeager and Lynn Byrge

Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager, left, the defendant in an ouster suit filed by a group of residents, is pictured with Lynn Byrge, one of the petitioners, during a Monday morning Anderson County Commission meeting.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 10:06 a.m. July 22.

CLINTON—The legal fees in a few high-profile disputes between top Anderson County officials could approach a half-million dollars, and Anderson County commissioners should all seek their own legal counsel in an ouster lawsuit filed against the law director, stunned commissioners were told Monday.

Subpoenas have already been issued in the ouster suit, and several officials, including a few County Commissioners, have reportedly received letters asking them to waive their attorney-client privilege.

Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski, who is former interim mayor, said some of the records he’s been asked to provide go back 10 years, and some of them are personnel records. Iwanski said he needs legal representation because he doesn’t want to disclose anything improper, a mistake that could lead to another lawsuit.

“It’s about trying to do what’s right for the county,” Iwanski said.

He said former Anderson County Jail Administrator Avery Johnson has also been served with a subpoena and will need legal representation.

“This is just the start of the legal battle,” Iwanski said. [Read more...]

Letter: Sheriff vows to continue crime-fighting, make county safer place

Paul White

Paul White

To the Editor:

Since I was first elected in 2006, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has implemented many changes and programs to better serve the citizens of Anderson County.

The Sheriff’s Department was reorganized to be more efficient and more effective. Emphasis has been placed on enforcement for the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes. This reorganization has placed more deputies on patrol and investigating crimes, resulting in more arrests and crimes solved.

We have focused the efforts of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on drug enforcement and in reducing property crimes such as burglary and theft. These efforts have paid off as overall crime numbers have fallen and are continuing to decrease.

Crime prevention programs such as Neighborhood Watch were reinstated and a dedicated crime prevention officer works hand-in-hand with the community to help in reducing crime. [Read more...]

Sheriff: Eighteen arrested of 26 indicted on drug-related charges

Paul White

Paul White

Eighteen of the 26 people indicted on drug-related charges by an Anderson County grand jury in June and July have been arrested, Sheriff Paul White said Thursday. Four were arrested in June after the indictments were returned, and the other 14 have been arrested since Monday, the sheriff said in a press release.

The arrests are the result of long hours of hard work by investigators of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit, White said. The agencies that cooperated in the investigations were the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Clinton Police Department, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the Rocky Top (Lake City) Police Department, the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, and the District Attorney General’s Office.

“Our thanks for the teamwork from all the law enforcement agencies involved in these investigations,” which are ongoing, White said.

Here is the list of those arrested and their charges, as reported by the Sheriff’s Department: [Read more...]

Seventeen arrested, 26 indicted on drug-related charges, sheriff says

Paul White

Paul White

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department arrested 17 people on drug-related charges on Monday and Tuesday following drug investigations during the last few months, Sheriff Paul White said Wednesday.

These charges are mostly result from the sale or possession for resale of prescription or legend drugs, as well as marijuana- and methamphetamine-related offenses, White said. The charges were included in 35 indictments against 26 people returned by an Anderson County Grand Jury in June and July after investigations by the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit.

White said deputies started making arrests on the indictments and related drug-activity investigations on Monday.

He said those indicted for the manufacture, sales, delivery, or possession either sold to undercover agents or were in possession of illegal drugs for resale. Of the 26 people indicted, 19 were charged with prescription narcotics offenses, three were charged with cocaine offenses, three were marijuana-related, and one was on methamphetamine charges. [Read more...]

Anderson Chamber hosts mayor, sheriff candidate debates

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a debate for candidates for mayor and sheriff on Thursday evening in Clinton.

The 6 p.m. debate at The Ritz Theater will be moderated by Hallerin Hilton Hill of NewsTalk 98.7. The public is invited.

The candidates for mayor participating in the debate are the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican, and her two challengers: Jim Hackworth, a Democrat, and Bradley S. Rickett, an Independent.

The candidates for sheriff are incumbent Paul White, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Anthony Lay. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Chamber has Q&A with mayor, sheriff candidates

Learn more about the three candidates for Anderson County mayor and two candidates for Anderson County sheriff on Thursday morning at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

The first “Election Selection” event is 7:30 a.m. Thursday, July 10, in the Joyce Conference Room at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. It’s open to the public.

All five candidates for mayor and sheriff have confirmed their plans to attend, the Chamber said. Here are the candidates:

Anderson County Mayor

  • Terry Frank
  • Jim Hackworth
  • Bradley Rickett

Anderson County Sheriff

Anderson Chamber hosts mayor, sheriff candidate debates Thursday

Hallerin Hilton Hill

Hallerin Hilton Hill

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a debate for candidates for mayor and sheriff on Thursday evening in Clinton.

The 6 p.m. debate at The Ritz Theater will be moderated by Hallerin Hilton Hill of NewsTalk 98.7. The public is invited.

The candidates for mayor participating in the debate are the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican, and her two challengers: Jim Hackworth, a Democrat, and Bradley S. Rickett, an Independent.

The candidates for sheriff are incumbent Paul White, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Anthony Lay. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Chamber has Q&A with mayor, sheriff candidates Thursday morning

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

Learn more about the three candidates for Anderson County mayor and two candidates for Anderson County sheriff on Thursday morning at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

The first “Election Selection” event is 7:30 a.m. Thursday, July 10, in the Joyce Conference Room at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. It’s open to the public.

All five candidates for mayor and sheriff have confirmed their plans to attend, the Chamber said. Here are the candidates: [Read more...]

Sixth person arrested in Aryans Nations gang-related attempted murder

Cynthia Ann Wright

Cynthia Ann Wright

A sixth person was arrested on Thursday after another indictment was returned in an Aryan Nations gang-related attempted murder and conspiracy case, authorities said.

Cynthia Ann Wright, 40, of Strawberry Plains, was arrested at her home in Jefferson County by sheriff’s investigators with the assistance of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said in a Tuesday morning press release. Wright is now being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton under a $100,000 bond.

White said investigators obtained indictments from the Anderson County Grand Jury on the six people after a lengthy investigation into the severe beating of a 31-year-old Briceville man that resulted in serious injuries. The incident occurred on Dennis Lane in Claxton in December 2013 and was from internal gang-related enforcement. All six people charged in the case are members of the Aryan Nations gang, White said. [Read more...]

Anderson County sheriff warns of jury duty fraud scam

Paul White

Paul White

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about a phone scam involving a claim of missed jury duty and a request to buy a money order to pay fines.

In a Thursday night press release, the Sheriff’s Department said it has received a report of a man who placed a phone call to a victim and identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy. The scammer informed the victim they have missed jury duty, and he asked them to buy a money order to pay the fines. He then asked the victim to meet him to pay and avoid going to jail. This scam has apparently been attempted in Anderson County and in the Clinton area.

The caller ID of the scammer shows “Warrants Division,” but that is fake and this is a scam, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said in the press release.

“This is the same scam that has been circulating this week in Knox County,” he said. “There are several variations of scams targeting our area. The callers are claiming to be officers with various law enforcement agencies and are collecting funds for missed jury duty or outstanding warrants. In most of the scams, the caller request that funds be paid by purchasing either a prepaid credit card or money order.” [Read more...]