published Monday, February 13th, 2012

Sen. Beavers, husband file suit over $50,000 loan to Macon County newspaper publisher

NASHVILLE — A Middle Tennessee state senator and her husband are suing the publisher of the Macon County Chronicle, alleging the publisher has not repaid all of a $50,000 loan the lawmaker made to her.

In her Dec. 29 Chancery Court complaint in Wilson County, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, and her husband, Jerry Beavers, allege they loaned the money to Macon County publisher Kathryne Belle and her nephew, John Cook, at a 6 percent interest rate on or about May 26.

The money, according to the complaint, went toward purchasing an interest in the newspaper. The complaint says Cook and/or Belle “have made numerous payments on the loan but have not [made] all required payments” and have allegedly failed to make payments “that were requested of principle and/or interest.”

The suit also alleges Belle and Cook have refused to sign a written promissory note or to pledge adequate collateral for the loan. It also says Cook appears to have filed for bankruptcy. The suit was filed by Nashville attorney John I. Harris III, who is executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, which lobbies the General Assembly.

Beavers’ lawsuit is drawing fire from former Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, whom Beavers defeated in a bitter 2010 August Senate primary. Lynn said the Macon County Chronicle began publishing articles attacking her about the time of the loan.

“I hope you are asking yourself about the ethics of an elected official loaning a newspaper owner in her district $50,000 at any time but especially during an election year and not making disclosure,” Lynn wrote on her Facebook page.

She also questioned whether the Beavers’ $50,000 went toward a loan or for the couple to purchase an actual interest in the newspaper.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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