TBI finds no wrongdoing by Loudon County clerk
LOUDON — A grand jury and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have found no evidence of improper conduct by Loudon County Clerk Darlene Russell, but a federal lawsuit filed by a former employee is still progressing.
Former employee Kristy Russell, who is not related to the clerk, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Knoxville in July alleging she was fired after witnessing violations of state and county policy during her seven years with the clerk's office.
The violations included acceptance of gifts, a ban on interracial marriage and violations of vehicle registration policies, according to the lawsuit. Kristy Russell also claimed Darlene Russell engaged in campaign activities during work hours and fired her after she supported another candidate in the 2014 primary.
During last week's grand jury meeting a summary report was presented from the office of 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson into the allegations of misconduct in Russell's office.
According to an addendum to the grand jury's report, the state Comptroller's Office, the state Department of Revenue and the TBI all performed parallel investigations into the claims. All three found no evidence of misconduct and no violations of law, according to the report.
Knoxville attorney Katherine Young, who represents Kristy Russell, said the investigation dealt with specific claims related to the finances of the clerk's office but did not address the wrongful dismissal case.
That case is set for trial in February 2016, Young said.