published Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Crutchfield dissolving online publication


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

City Council

Department of Education, Arts & Culture Administrator Missy Crutchfield is dissolving her online publication Be Magazine.

Department spokeswoman Melissa Turner, who helped Crutchfield with the magazine, also is being shifted under the umbrella of a new boss.

The measures were disclosed Tuesday as a second audit report came out concerning whether Crutchfield violated city code by using city resources and time to run the for-profit online publication.

City Council Auditor Randy Burns released his audit report Tuesday to the council's Budget, Personnel and Finance Committee, saying he concurred with a report released last week by City Auditor Stan Sewell.

Sewell's audit showed four possible violations of city policy by Crutchfield and Turner, but he said Be Magazine did not appear to be operated for personal gain.

"There was no wrong done," Burns wrote in his audit. "However, by getting proper approvals and making the right people aware on the front end, the perceptions of wrongdoing could have been prevented."

Crutchfield declined to comment Tuesday.

Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the Budget, Personnel and Finance Committee, said the council will discuss the reports next week in case any council members want further action or want to comment on the substance of the reports.

"There has to be public closure, I think," she said.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said Tuesday that the city welcomed any feedback from the council.

He also said Crutchfield removed Turner from under her direct control.

Three weeks ago, Littlefield told Crutchfield to remove all city references from the magazine's website. Beeland said he was not sure if any other action would be merited.

"I think the mayor's already addressed this issue," he said.

Crutchfield was named administrator for the Department of Education, Arts and Culture in 2005 when Littlefield created the department.

Sewell said in his audit that Be Magazine could create problems with perceived nepotism and also with the implication that there was a contract between the city and the publication.

Crutchfield also did not fill out a city form showing that she was engaged in outside work, Sewell said, and she should not have used city resources for personal venture.

Burns wrote that he spoke with Crutchfield about why she formed the magazine as a for-profit venture. Crutchfield told him they wanted to establish a limited liability corporation and the for-profit method seemed the easiest way, Burns said.

He said he was also told that Crutchfield was dissolving the limited liability corporation.

In other news, at committee meetings earlier in the day, the City Council talked extensively about the possible donation of property on 11th Street near the old Farmer's Market.

The site was used for years by Chattanooga Gas Co. for gasification of coal. Its current owners, J.H. Holding Co., have offered it to the city, Littlefield said.

The mayor told the council Tuesday the city could use the site as an impound lot if a new police precinct is built at the old Farmer's Market in coming years.

The council is expected to vote on the measure next week.

Contact Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CliffHightower.

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Allison12 said...

Great coverage of City .gov issues, Scary, Another Littlefield Farmers Market property addition is being proposed by our Mayor. Donation of polluted property with monitoring expenses, sure the taxpayers want a superfund site. Be very concerned Joe Taxpayer. The last deal Farmers Market transaction was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP54U1vecKQ

October 27, 2010 at 12:14 a.m.
slr3 said...

Everyone should see the youtube video posted by allison12. This is very enlightening. Littlefield is not a good steward of taxpayer money and his dealings are not above board. We better watch him until we can vote him out of office.

October 27, 2010 at 4:20 a.m.
joe_six_pack said...

He can not run again (for City Mayor) unless he pushes Metro Government through

October 27, 2010 at 7:41 a.m.
fairmon said...

Littlefield created the ECA and has never published anything of substance regarding business and jobs the department has brought to the city. Why does the city council and tax payers keep accepting this waste of tax payer money?

The citizens of Hamilton County would be better served if instead of the city expanding and taking the county in as part of a Metro-government the county take over and abolish several city government departments and absorb those that are essential. The redundancy and duplication of the two are ridiculous. County government is not perfect or squeaky clean but is way ahead of city government.

October 27, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.
fairmon said...

Allison12

Great Expose of how Littlefield operates. One has to wonder why the taxes were not witheld from the exorbitant over payment for a waste dump by the city. I assume this was with council approval.

October 27, 2010 at 8:39 a.m.
Allison12 said...

harp3339, the City had filed lawsuits to collect the back taxes for 3 years, TFP described as "tangeled." I have another word for this deal.

The Times Free Press published an article on February 9, 2008, “Federal Witness Unveiled,. This article centers on Reverend Eugene Overstreet as a witness in a public corruption trial, and raises as a secondary issue Rev. Overstreet’s involvement in the Farmer Market property acquisition by the City of Chattanooga:

“According to the Chattanooga City Council minutes from February 6, 2007, Mr. Overstreet addressed the council and boasted that he walked the site of the proposed homeless complex on East 11th Street with Mayor Ron Littlefield before the mayor’s election along with the late William Aubrey Thompson, and was instrumental in the purchase of that property. (Mr. Overstreet) stated that the idea does not seem to please a lot of people with “funny badges” from Washington who have been tiptoeing around his funeral home, the minute’s state. “He reiterated that he is proud to be one of the progenitors of the Eleventh Street property purchase.”

City Council minutes Feb. 6, 2007, quote verbatim, Rev. Overstreet,

“He stated he and “brother” Bill Thompson, who is in the Father’s house and our Mayor, before elected, walked through every building and every inch and he was glad he was instrumental in putting one hand on our Mayor’s shoulder and the other on Mr. Thompson’s to bring about an amalgamation of thought to create the property upon which this homeless property idea could be launched.”

William A. Thompson is widely known as a central figure in the Governor Ray Blanton, Tennessee parole for sale, referred to as “TN Par.” Author Mark Grossman describes William A. Thompson as the creator of the concept of accepting bribes in exchange for parole, and the person that executed the plan to accept bribes for parole. The United States Court of Appeals 685 F.ed 993, United States of America vs. William Aubrey Thompson cites that Mr. Thompson was indicted on racketeering and corrupt organization statues for conspiring to solicit and accept bribes for influencing the granting of pardons and paroles and delay or denial for extradition to person who had been convicted or charged. William A. Thompson’s role in the TN Par public corruption is the subject of several books and a film.

William A. Thompson purchased the Farmer Market Property on September 25, 2002 for a purchase price of $128,345 as recorded in the Hamilton County Register of Deeds Office (Deed Book 6379, Page 0880).

On August 11, 2008, the Times Free Press reported, “The tangles in the mayor’s dream began early — even with the city’s $775,000 purchase of the Farmers’ Market property, on Mr. Littlefield’s request, from some of the mayor’s former campaign contributors: Rick and William R. Thompson and their father, the late William Aubrey Thompson. The family gave Mr. Littlefield’s mayoral campaign $2,000.”

October 27, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.
harrystatel said...

Is it true that Mayor Littlefield is naming the area "Chattanooga's Love Canal" as a tourist attraction?

Harry Statel

October 27, 2010 at 9:04 p.m.

She is losing nothing when one thinks about it. Missy is a sexy woman with money and a lot of political connections in this county and in DC.

October 28, 2010 at 5:24 p.m.
fairmon said...

She is well put together, well connected and well to do which means she should move on and do well at the expense of someone other than tax payers.

October 30, 2010 at 3:59 p.m.
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