Former Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp will not be prosecuted for
allegedly reducing tax assessments for property in Rarity Bay
and Rarity Pointe owned by developer Mike Ross.
In a letter to Special Agent Jason Legg with the Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation by District Attorney General Pro Tem D.
Michael Dunavant he states there is not sufficient evidence to
prosecute Arp, Ross or Tracy Riedl, one of Ross's associates,
and that the statute of limitations prohibits him from
"Although your investigation reveals that Mr. Arp, Mr. Ross, and
Ms. Riedl engaged in conduct that seemed improper and suspicious
to allow Ross to gain a windfall tax benefit, there is not
sufficient evidence to show that they did so with criminal
intent to violate any state law. As a result, I am unable to
prove all of the essential statutory elements of the alleged
criminal offenses of either perjury or official misconduct.
Additionally, as noted, I am time-barred from initiating any
prosecution in these matters due to the applicable statute of
limitations for the possible offenses. Therefore, I will not be
presenting this case to the Loudon County Grand Jury for
possible indictment of any person for any offense," the letter
The alleged offenses occurred in 2005 when Arp was property
assessor. Arp was elected County Mayor in 2006 and former Loudon
County Commissioner Chuck Jenkins was appointed to the tax
assessor's position for the remainder of his term.
"According to Jenkins, he discovered the alleged developer
discounting by Arp in February, 2008, and after consulting with
state officials, began to reverse the downward valuations of the
affected Rarity Bay parcels and reinstate the original 2005
reappraisal values for the 2008 tax year. However, the
suspicions and allegations of possible wrongdoing by Arp, Ross,
and Riedl were not publicly revealed until the same was released
on a local political website and blog just before the August,
2008 midterm election cycle, in which Jenkins was a candidate
for the Assessor's position which he had held for two years by
appointment," the letter states.
Jenkins denies there was any political motivation on his part.
"He's implying that I had political motivations by releasing the
information when I did. What he doesn't know or chose not to
reveal is that I was unopposed in the August 2008 election,"
Jenkins said. "He chose to throw that into his report which
really has nothing to do with the gist of the report, which
seems to be kind of a cheap shot at me, which like I say was not
even grounded in reality."
Dunavant states the practice of "developer discounting," was
once an accepted practice by property assessors and that Arp
would have to have benefitted financially from the arrangement
in order to have broken the law.
"There is no evidence to suggest that Arp in any way benefitted
financially from such alleged favoritism in the exercise of his
duties and discretion to set appraised values as assessor,"
according to the letter. It states Rick Arp, Doyle Arp's son,
was hired by Ross in 2005, but that there is no evidence it was
a result of actions taken by Arp as property assessor.
Dunavant's letter goes on to say the statute of limitations for
official misconduct, a Class E felony, is two years from the
date of the crime.
"I apologize for the delay in making a final charging decision
and disposition in this matter, as I know that this
investigation is of great interest to the citizens of Loudon
County. However, as you know, the TBI investigative case file
is voluminous, and contains numerous real estate and tax records
which I had to thoroughly and painstakingly review in order to
understand the entirety of the evidence collected in this case,
and to make a decision on such complex and unusual criminal
issues," the letter states.
It also states the total amount reduced comes to more than $11
million in appraised value and more than $150,000 in lost tax
revenue for the county.