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Justice says his words were taken out of context
Oct 25, 2006 12:00 am
Recent reports that Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice had said he wanted to have the state Attorney General look into whether Mayor Linda Elam has done something illegal are erroneous, according to Justice.
The issue prompting the need for correction deals with Elam's relatively new position with Commercial Realty Service, the Donelson-based developer of retail project Mt. Juliet Crossings in South Mt. Juliet. Elam is a real estate lawyer formerly employed by Hollins and Associates in Nashville. She's the former chair of the Mt. Juliet Planning Commission.
"I've never called for the state Attorney General to come and find out if Linda Elam was doing something illegal," Justice said Friday afternoon. "I don't believe for a second that Linda's done anything wrong. While we have disagreed from time to time on various issues, this is not one we disagree on."
In addition, Justice said Elam has "the right to work wherever she wants to work, and I don't feel her position should limit her job opportunities."
Justice said he was upset and wanted to set the record straight because what he was said was "taken out of context.
"The question is do I personally believe that the circumstances need to be looked into, the answer is no. There is nothing to look into," he said. "Do we need guidance on how to avoid the appearance of conflict in the future, the answer is yes."
Elam said the situation involving her changing jobs has been handled "appropriately from start to end.
"I have consulted with the city attorney [Leslie Newman with Farmer & Luna, Attorneys-at-Law in Nashville] who acts as the ethics officer for the city and have followed her advice, and will continue to do so," she said Friday afternoon.
"This is an open book, and I will not allow someone to impugn my integrity with innuendo."
The first term-mayor and previous chair of the city's Planning Commission said, "I take the trust of Mt. Juliet citizens very seriously, and I stand ready to take any question anyone has. I'll be happy to talk with the state Attorney General."
Another misconception Justice wanted cleared was the report that the issue would be on Monday's city commission agenda.
"This is not something that's worth putting on any agenda," he said. "I think it's been blown out of proportion."
Managing Editor Amelia M. Hipps may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 13, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.