Letter to the Editor: Vandever offers no apology to victims in theft

To the Editor:
Jul 23, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following letter is in reference to a story published in the weekend edition of The Democrat on Gary Vandever and his new position as a Wilson County youth services officer. 

On July 18, 2012, Vandever, a former attorney, pleaded guilty for misappropriating funds that totaled about $500,000, from the estates of his deceased clients, father and son, Paul Porter Sr. and Joe Porter. Vandever was sentenced to nine months in jail and placed on probation for nine years. 

He pleaded guilty to three Class B felonies for thefts from the estates and immediately began his incarceration, to which he said he served every day. Vandever was also ordered to pay $400 a month in restitution until the entire amount taken is repaid, and he lost his license to practice law.

To the Editor:

Gary Vandever stole in excess of $500,000 and cost the estates of my father and grandfather, a D-Day survivor, a total of nearly $1 million in gross mismanagement and thefts from those estates. 

That money took my father, grandparents and great-grandparents three lifetimes to make and Mr. Vandever managed to squander and steal much of it within a few years while I struggled to survive on an art teacher’s salary. 

Mr. Vandever never apologized to me or my family despite having every opportunity to do so since 2010 when his fraud was discovered. 

I am completely in favor of rehabilitation for felons, and there is probably no one else more than my family and I who want Mr. Vandever to be gainfully employed, but from what I know about Mr. Vandever, which unfortunately is a lot, I do not think this community is well served by Mr. Vandever’s employment with the court system and this county’s at-risk youth. 

Mr. Vandever violated the trust of my family and the courts, and he has done nothing worthy to again earn the trust of either. 

If he remains unworthy of holding a law license, I see no reason why he should be employed by the courts, salary paid for by taxpayers, to work with at-risk youth. 

It is true that Mr. Vandever has sent a restitution check of $400 for the past few months –the monthly the minimum required by the court – but at this rate, he will never make the estate whole, and I believe that he only pays this money to avoid being placed back in the Trousdale County Jail to serve the remaining time on his 10-year prison sentence.  

Brooke Porter Hawkins

Possumtown

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