POA Board faces questions, criticisms
Tammy Cheek-The Connection
In the statement, Anklin stated the POA Board could have requested District Attorney General Russell Johnson not prosecute the case or grant a judicial diversion.
Anklin said in his email that during a December 2009 hearing, Johnson was on the phone with Bud Gilbert, the POA's attorney. Anklin said Gilbert told Johnson the POA wanted Leone to plead guilty and to revoke Leone's attendance to all board meetings for one year.
"While it was true the district attorney general's office was the prosecutor, and it would be in any criminal trial, the POA and its lawyer was actively involved in pursuing it," Anklin's email stated. "I would expect that Mr. Blazer and the POA Board of Directors will offer you an apology that you deserve."
Anklin also said he also expects the Board will investigate whether the POA's computers or employees' Blackberries were used to post comments against the Leones on the Topix site. "I will be requesting this from the Board at next Wednesday's meeting," Anklin wrote.
In response, board member Claire Frazer, who sat in for President Bob Coates, read a statement from the board saying the POA Board expresses its objection and concern about "the numerous misstatements and incorrect assertions" contained in Anklin's email regarding Leone's acquittal of assault charges stemming from an event in 2009.
"The TVPOA Board expresses its continued support for the association's general manager and the safety and welfare of all its employees," she read. "At no time did the POA Board take any action to initiate or prosecute the member in this criminal court proceeding, but instead the proceeding was investigated and prosecuted by the Loudon County District Attorney General.
"While the member was suspended by the TVPOA for a 30-day period, from his use of certain TVPOA common property as a result of his violation of TVPOA's conduct rule related to this incident, that 30-day suspension lapsed in 2009 and since that time the member has been in good standing with the association and has been entitled to all the rights and benefits of membership in the association," she read.
"The Board sees no benefit to any further discussion of this subject and will, accordingly, have no further comment on this matter," Frazer read from the statement.
Sharon Anklin also asked about purchasing practices in the Village. "It is now the end of September, and in November and December you all told us that we would have the purchasing agreement within the next couple of months," she said. "Well, that didn't happen. It didn't come out until May or June for review. And there were so many questions and concerns from people that nothing else has happened since that day."
She asked for a copy of Lenoir City's purchasing procedures from the city's purchasing agent late Monday afternoon. She received the copy Tuesday morning at no charge. "I didn't have to put in a request and wait five days for someone to consider the request to see these documents," Sharon Anklin said. "So if you all need help, I would suggest you go to the local communities — Loudon, Loudon City, Lenoir City—and pick up a copy of their procedures."
Another resident, Jeannie Pilgrim, questioned the POA's tax returns, in particular claiming Blazer was "overcompensated." She asked for an explanation from the board.
Board member Ken Ballien, who sits on the POA's audit committee, stated: "We have prepared the 9-90s (income tax forms) on our website with the actual 9-90s we sent to the IRS. "It is unfortunate if another website has made errors in listing the 9-90s we sent to the IRS, but neither we nor the POA can control what another entity has posted on a separate website," he said. "I understand that Warren & Tallent (auditing firm) is trying to get to the bottom of why these websites do not have the current version of what we sent. As soon as we find out what Warren & Tallent finds out, we will let you know."
Dan Hutcherson, another board member, asked where the POA was on the procurement process. Blazer said he thinks the process is about 95 percent done. "With Mr. Coates' illness we are waiting on his return," he added. "He was the lead on the Board for that project."