Monday, October 24, 2016

Laura Bohling for Dist. 34 Shares Her Thoughts

Laura Bohling, Democrat candidate for State House District 34 and former Rutherford County Circuit Court Clerk, took the time to share her story and ideas with Murfreesboro Review. I reached out to her Republican opponent, Tim Rudd, but he has yet to respond.

Remember, early voting has already begun and runs until November 3. Election day is on November 8.

Laura Bohling campaign photo.
(October 22, 2016)

     One comment or question that comes up occasionally is: “Weren’t you a Republican?” or even, “Weren’t you a Tea Party Republican?” For the record, I was a founding member of Campaign for Liberty in Rutherford County – definitely NOT the Tea Party. I leaned to the right because culturally that is where I thought I was supposed to be, but I was never Tea Party. I have always been anti-war (but patently not anti-military) so a libertarian lean in the Republican world worked for me.

     As Circuit Court Clerk (2010-2014), I tried very hard to change the way things worked both in the office and the courtroom like creating job descriptions and performance evaluations, instituting a Collections Department that collected over $2 million of past fines and fees, and working on developing a new computer system. That computer system was ready to go before I left office, but the newly elected clerk did not want it installed until she took office. I offered help through various means – phone call, text, email, friends, business associates, even publically stating I would help in the DNJ – but no help was sought. Of course, as is required in the transfer of officials in a Tennessee Constitutional Office, I left my successor with absolutely clean books – all items able to be paid were, and each court I was responsible for (General Sessions Criminal, General Sessions Civil, Circuit Civil, Circuit Criminal and Juvenile) were balanced to zero and all excess fees turned over to the County.

     One thing I didn't do well was play the political game. I didn't give in to the Rutherford County political machine, and that meant my re-election was practically impossible. As I served, I realized the Republican supermajority was only interested in maintaining their power, not actually helping people. When I lost re-election in a three-way GOP primary, I continued a journey to my roots that started four years before. Some have claimed, “When you lost your re-election, you jumped ship and blamed the Republicans.” Hardly, I actually actively participated in the development of the Republican Liberty Caucus in the County and the State, serving on both boards after my loss. When my son came out as gay in November 2014, the journey accelerated. I could no longer associate with a party that actively works against my son and people like him.

     I was raised in a union home, my dad a steelworker and my mom a UFCW member. My first job – the same grocery store chain as my mom. I remember watching my proud dad battle depression after the steel mills shut down. I wondered how far I'd come from that upbringing to be associated with whom I was with now. To be clear, I have wonderful friends who are conservative, Republican, and Libertarian, but the political elites of the GOP don't care about improving people's lives, just spouting talking points and winning elections. I realized that the only place I felt comfortable was at home, returning to my roots as a Democrat. As a candidate for District 34 State Representative, I'm making pledges to show my commitment to the people, not the power. First, I won't take per diems like many of our local delegation do. Second, I won't take the state insurance. This is not a daytime job, this is an opportunity to serve the 62,000 that live in District 34 whether they vote for me or not.

     As I've talked to folks across the district I've learned that the important things are constant regardless of our political parties: bringing better-paying jobs here to Rutherford County so we don't have to travel to Nashville or Franklin to find them; improving our infrastructure through efficient, bipartisan solutions to cut down on congestion and get ahead of our population growth and working to move broadband expansion out of committee; fully funding our education budget that is $500 million short and reducing the burden on counties and localities; and passing Governor Haslam's plan Insure Tennessee.

     Many folks are frustrated by the insurance situation in our state – I am too! – but what they don't know is that these problems are directly related to our legislature stubbornly ignoring their responsibility to pass InsureTN. Yes! I said responsibility! $2.5 billion is sitting in Washington because our legislature won't do the right thing. Their inaction means that 7 rural hospitals have closed, eliminating hundreds of jobs and literally putting people's lives at risk because of politics. InsureTN has a required second-year review and a partnership with state hospital systems presents a budget neutral option that provides insurance for 280,000 Tennesseans (as well as 24,000 veterans) in the gap, gives our State Insurance Commissioner a negotiating position not currently available, and provides an average insurance savings of $1,000 per family per year.

     The choice on November 8th is clear. My opponent is a thirty-year political operative who's worked on campaigns for Rick Womick and Robert Arnold, making sure they got elected without regard for how they would govern. He will assuredly do nothing without first consulting his Republican leaders … because he's actually said as much in print. He'll take no position that isn't politically expedient and beneficial to his ability to maintain power. He is the antithesis of what any voter would want because he would be a fear-mongering, do-nothing representative.

     You can vote for me. We may not agree on all the issues – in fact, I guarantee we won't. What you will know is that I'll have carefully studied all sides of an issue; listened to all the people I can from all perspectives. You'll know that in the end the decision I've made is one that will benefit the most of the 62,000 people who live here in District 34. This is not another step on a political ladder and I definitely don’t play political games. This is an opportunity to serve the people of Rutherford County – to really make a difference.

     Folks, it's time for a change. It's time for Common Sense Leadership to be what we expect on a daily basis from our District 34 representative. I would be honored to have your trusted and deeply valued vote. Please consider me, Laura Bohling, as your next District 34 state representative. I pledge that I will represent us with integrity, with poise, and with logic from day one.

Remember. Laura Bohling. November 8th! Thank you so much.

Contact Information

Phone number: 615-625-6191

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Meet the GOP Candidates for TN House Dist. 34

The Republican Women of Rutherford County hosted a "meet the candidates" event for those candidates running to fill Rep. Rick Womick's spot when he retires as State District 34 State Representative.

The GOP Primary election date is August 4, 2016 and early voting runs from July 15 to July 30. To find polling places or more information, visit the Rutherford County Election Commission website.

Crowd image courtesy of Rep. Bryan Terry (R-TN48)

A group of 35-40 meet at Logan's on Broad Street to hear three candidates, Tim Rudd, Christy Sigler, and Jimmy Turner, give their pitch and answer some questions. There is a fourth Republican candidate, Joshua James, but he wasn't able to attend. Each candidate was given 5 minutes for opening statements and 5 minutes to answer questions. Here's what they said in order of their appearance.

Tim Rudd
"Proven. Trusted. Conservative Leader" - Tim Rudd

He has lived in the district since 1973 and has been active in politics since 1986. He describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative who wants a "less intrusive government", "more freedom in schools, " and wants the state to "pay for things as we go".

During the Q&A session Mr. Rudd said he supported the Second Amendment including the right of citizens to own AR-15s. Instead of passing new gun control measures, he feels we should better enforce the laws already on the books. Also regarding gun violence, he believes that a key issue is that of mental health and asserted that most mass-shootings were committed by people with mental illness and that the state should take a renewed look at how we handle those with mental illness.

He was also asked about the addiction problem sweeping the country and said it definitely needed to be addressed, noting that opiate addiction plays a role in violence and our general economy. When asked his views on public education and where he stands on charter schools and vouchers, he said he's "100 per cent" in favor of charter schools and would be willing to look at other options including school vouchers.

I asked him if there were any specific issues he wanted to focus on if he goes on to win the primary and general election. He said his main focus was going to be on job recruitment and the economy. He said we're not doing enough to train and recruit, particularly when it comes to blue collar jobs. He'd like to see schools and universities work together while also providing incentives to keep jobs here. He is also concerned with our infrastructure and when I asked about a proposed high-speed rail service in our area, Rudd said that he needed to do more research but was generally in favor of it, saying that we needed one.

The key issues listed on his campaign material are: support low taxes and low spending, strengthening schools, opposing Common Core, fighting illegal immigration, supporting job growth and small business, opposeing Medicare expansion, pro-2nd amendment, pro-life and family.

Christy Sigler
"Experienced Advocate for Our Families" - Christy Sigler

During her opening statement she stressed that her views and actions stem from personal conviction, and doesn't simply "tow the party line." She served in the military and is now a lawyer focusing on children, grandparent's rights, and helping kids who have been neglected or abused. She has served on the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth since 2011. One main focus is on getting state and local government to be better coordinated to address the various issues that face citizens.

Sigler also stated she supported the Second Amendment and doesn't want to make things more difficult for citizens, but said that mental heath is an issue. She wants the state to maintain control over immigration and refugee resettlement. Sigler supports the Human Trafficking Court in Nashville and says that we need to do more to address the issue, noting that "Middle Tennessee is a sex trafficking hot spot".

On education, she spoke about her autistic son and said that students shouldn't be forced into a one-size-fits-all box since each student is different, and that she is open to looking at all alternatives and ideas to improve education.

I also asked her what specific areas she wanted to focus on, her answer was education. She said that the entire system needed to be cleaned up, made more efficient, and needed to have "politics" taken out, citing the controversial problems over PARCC testing. She continued, saying that she also wanted to focus on the addiction problem. I asked her thoughts on mandatory sentencing for non-violent offenders, she responded that she recognizes there are problems with the system that needs to be fixed, and that she is more worried about violent criminals being released prematurely or being given light sentences.

The key issues listed on her website are: supports lower taxes and smaller government, improve transportation, fight human trafficking, promote private sector job growth, fully fund education and expand vocational/technical schools, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life, help families, healthcare, and support our veterans.

Jimmy Turner
"Principled Conservative. A Fresh Face for Tennessee" - Jimmy Turner

Mr. Turner is a local lawyer and his wife is a reading teacher for students with learning disabilities. He proudly asserted that he "escaped Memphis" and came to Rutherford County and is very proud to have made his home here. Turner recounted the life story of his mother as she fought for respect in the male-dominated world of electrical work. He credits her with teaching him the lessons of hard work, honesty, and integrity. He also said that the large number of people moving to Tennessee are coming here because we are a freer and more conservative state, and he wants to help maintain our liberties.

As a member of the NRA and TN Firearms Association, his answer to gun control was simple, "Constitutional carry," and noted that things like gun-free zones make it easier for criminals and terrorists to attack. He supports low taxes and stated he strongly opposed any increase in the gas tax.

When asked, he said his main issue is also education, and said that he supports the principle "the money should follow the student." He brought up the fact that states are "laboratories of democracy" and that we shouldn't be afraid to try new things, especially if they're already working in other states - such as charter schools. He opposes Common Core.

The key issues listed on his campaign material are: education, economic growth and job creation, protecting gun rights, combating illegal immigration, and promoting life.

Candidate Contact Information
Christy Sigler

Jimmy Turner

Tim Rudd

GOP Women's Contact Info
Main website:
Facebook Page:

--Jacob Bogle, June 22, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sheriff Arnold Among Three Indicted by FBI

Sketch of Sheriff Arnold in shackles (Source: Anna Dewitt)

Tennesseans Against Corruption, of which I am a member, launched "Oust Sheriff Arnold" in April 2015 when we filed the original ethics complaint against Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold. Since then, Murfreesboro Review has has been reporting on this major scandal and published 4 detailed articles on the matter:
   A History of Sheriff Robert Arnold - April 21, 2015
   The Questionable Hires of Sheriff Arnold - April 29, 2015
   Sheriff Robert Arnold Update - Sept. 29, 2015
   Death, Shots, and Beyoncé: the Sheriff Arnold Saga Continues - Feb. 16, 2016

After 13 months of work and a year and 6 days after the initial FBI/TBI raid, Sheriff Arnold, his second-in-command Chief Administrator Joe Russell, and Arnold's uncle John Vanderveer (the owner of JailCigs) were taken into FBI custody and indicted on 14 charges, including fraud, conspiracy, bribery, and extortion. The full 33-page indictment can be read here.

According to the indictments, Arnold received $66,790, Russell received $52,234.41 and Vanderveer received $49,545.50 in payments from JailCigs. The indictment also mentions the April 2015 interview WSMV's Nancy Amons conducted with Arnold, during which he repeatedly lied and claimed he wasn't aware of Russell's involvement - nor his own involvement with JailCigs. However, the indictment clearly shows that Arnold deposited a $3,900 check from the company the day before the interview.

Arnold was released on bond but had his passport confiscated and isn't allowed to leave Middle Tennessee. The arraignment is set for June 7. According to WGNS, Arnold could face up to 95 years in prison if convicted on all counts. It's important to note that so far Arnold and Russell have only been indicted on federal charges, state charges may follow, particularly since Arnold used income from JailCigs to help fund his re-election campaign, pocketed the money instead of turning it into the Rutherford County general fund, and entered into a contract with the company without county commission approval.

Despite telling the Daily News Journal he has "no intention of resigning," calls for his resignation are mounting. Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgress said that Arnold should "seriously consider" stepping down, and state senators Jim Tracy and Bill Ketron have also expressed their desire for him to resign from office.

While the county commission can't fire the sheriff at this point, they should unanimously demand his resignation. The Sheriff's Department has been under a lot of strain due Arnold's and Russell's actions. The ability of the Department to carry out is duties effectively has no doubt been compromised, all the while these men have received hundreds of thousands in taxpayer-funded salaries (and thousands more from illicit sources). Additionally, Arnold recently lost yet another lawsuit for wrongful termination, costing Rutherford County citizens another $340,000 in a settlement, bringing the total amount of money paid out for numerous lawsuits under Arnold's administration to around $1 million.

The people have lost their faith in his ability to serve as sheriff and our county has become a national joke due to his actions. His refusal to step down is an insult to us all. Joe Russell should also, at a minimum, be suspended without pay until the charges are resolved.

Tennesseans Against Corruption will continue to fight for Sheriff Robert Arnold's ouster and demands that the County Attorney, Jim Cope, do his legal duty to assist.

For more information, please LIKE and SHARE our Facebook page, Oust Sheriff Arnold. If you are interested in getting an "Oust Sheriff Arnold" t-shirt, simply send a message via the page. We would also greatly appreciate your donations to help fund the ouster effort legal expenses -

-- Jacob Bogle, 5/28/16

Friday, April 15, 2016

Former Candidate Takes Revolution Across the Country

Former 4th District Congressional candidate John Anderson has an idea: bring about citizen self-governance by dismantling the current system of party politics and big money. 

He ran against State Sen. Jim Tracy and US Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 2014 Republican primary. Sen. Tracy had huge sums of money and Rep. DesJarlais was the incumbent. Mr. Anderson was just a regular guy. He ended up coming in 3rd place after receiving nearly 4,600 votes - which cost his target, Sen. Tracy, the election.

He did this by doing what current US Senator Lamar Alexander did back when he ran for Tennessee Governor in 1978 - traveling the area on foot (or, in Mr. Anderson's case, cycling) and talking to voters one-on-one.

Now, John Anderson, who lives in Bedford County, is going to take his unique personality and particular message to the rest of the country. 

Below is his guest article submission to describing his Rebellion Ride.

By John Anderson

"Revolution" is now a much-bandied word, and it annoys me. Search Facebook and discover "Ted Cruz Revolution 2016." Cafe Press, an on-line retailer, will sell you a "Bernie Revolution" t-shirt for $27.99.  Sarah Palin, Black Lives Matter (George Soros), Rush Limbaugh, Time magazine... Revolution, revolution, revolution. They all spout it.

Next it will be the J.C. Penney Revolution Sale.   

It more than annoys me. It makes me angry that all these posers - and that is what all of them are - have appropriated one of the most powerful words in the English language and thereby are cheapening it.

Rebellion Ride is real revolution. We are actually, truly going to overthrow the government. We aren't going to modify it or alter its course some. We are going to burn it to the ground and replace it with what was intended.

Rebellion Ride doesn't just talk. We do what we say we will do.

Rebellion Ride has a history:

In 2014, with no money and no campaign organization, I ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. My initial motivation was to bring about one of the most surprising national election upsets in that or any recent congressional election year by winning enough votes to alter the outcome of the race.

A particular candidate was overwhelmingly favored to win the seat. He had all the money and powerful endorsements. National political publications said that he was a shoo-in.

He had been dishonest about some state education matters that are quite important. I wanted to punish him publicly and make him an example. I knew I wouldn't win the congressional seat; I wanted to make him lose.

I campaigned by backpacking continuously over 700 miles throughout the sprawling, gerrymandered, 6,000 square mile district, sleeping in my tent at night by the side of the road. I preached against my targeted opponent and for real political revolution.

My one-man, no-money traveling campaign did so stunningly well that, after the election and weeks of contentious recounting and splashy national headlines, my victim lost to another candidate by 38 votes.

It made the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and I decided that if a retired schoolteacher could change a congressional election, he can change the nation.

Rebellion Ride is going to overthrow the government without bloodshed or physical destruction. The first American Revolution gave us that gift, the ability to non-violently transform our governance. Rebellion Ride is the second American Revolution.

Paul Revere left Boston on the 18th of April in 1775 to announce what would be the real start of the first American Revolution.

Rebellion Ride leaves Seattle, Washington, on the 18th of April, 241 years to the day after Revere left Boston. I will bicycle for three months across the continent to Jacksonville, Florida, 3,500 miles, fomenting political revolution, genuine revolution, all the way.

We are going to destroy political parties and eliminate the influence of money in governance.

Congress will become absolutely transparent and in the public view constantly via the most advanced surveillance streamed to the Internet. There will be nothing done secretly or behind closed doors (exceptions for real national security). Every member of Congress will be watched and listened to all the time. It will be a crime for two or more members of Congress to discuss any public business except when under the surveillance of the Capitol cameras and microphones.

Members of Congress will serve only one term, and during that time they will work at least ten hours per day, six days per week, fifty weeks per year doing actual legislative work to solve problems and improve the future. There will be no fund raising or campaigning for re-election because there will be no re-election. There will be no way to take money from lobbyists.

Every word of every piece of legislation will be read aloud at a normal pace, streamed to the Internet and archived, as members of Congress and the interested public watch and listen. All members of Congress will be required to attend the reading prior to voting. (That one simple change will radically alter governance.)

Most Americans would consider those ideas and say that they are not revolutionary at all, that they are just common sense. In fact, these transformations will alter our system of governance as profoundly as did the first American Revolution.

Not a single current politician would agree to support any of these ideas. That is strong evidence of their revolutionary power and the threat they present to our present government.

The unholy alliance of corrupt party politics and vast wealth that currently governs America will be destroyed and replaced by genuine citizen self-governance.

Rebellion Ride has a website that explains it all: 

The journey will be documented on Facebook at There will be photos, interviews with people all across the country, and textual commentary. You can follow it across the nation.

Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat will become interesting on April 18: rebellionride

YouTube: Rebellion Ride

I appreciate Jacob's allowing me this forum.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Death, Shots, and Beyoncé: the Sheriff Arnold Saga Continues

NOTE: questions surrounding Sheriff Robert Arnold and corruption have been long standing. Please review the first three parts to this ongoing issue to get the full backstory. Part I, Part II, Part, III.

First I would sincerely like to say that I'm glad no one was hurt and Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold's family is fine.

On Monday night, Feb. 15, 2016, shots rang out near Sheriff Arnold's home. The perpetrator is still unknown, but when asked about possible motives, the Sheriff pointed to Beyoncé's 2016 Super Bowl halftime show, claiming “Well, you have Beyonce’s video and how that’s kind of led over into other things, it seems like, about law enforcement.

The idea here is that this video was so violent in intent and has been so persuasive that it has led people to go and kill cops makes little sense. It puts me in mind of another video that was blamed after the deaths of four Americans in Libya.

Sheriff Arnold was no doubt contemplating the so-called "war on cops". However, The Washington Post has shown that police deaths have been falling for decades, with 2015 being one of the safest years ever.

The fact that no bullets even hit his large house, shows that whoever did this was trying to send a message, not kill (if Sheriff Arnold was even the target, it's unknown what exactly was being shot at or where exactly the bullets came from). That said, there's never a good reason to send a message with a gun, nor to try and take vigilante justice. But what could have been the motivation? After years of abuse and corruption, could there be even more reasons for people to be upset with the Sheriff and the Sheriff's Department?

On January 30, 2016, inmate Jonathan Maxwell was found dead while in the Rutherford County jail. He didn't just die though, he hung himself with a phone cord. One has to ask, where exactly were the officers? And what steps did Sheriff Arnold take to prevent this from happening again? Whatever the RCSO might have done, it wasn't enough. A week later, Michael J. Murray also killed himself while in police custody.

Those are just the latest horrible events to occur at the jail. In 2014 Robert Lee Johnson was arrested. Two months later he was found unconscious in his cell after being badly beaten. His family is suing the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department for $20 million. Sheriff Arnold has already lost several lawsuits and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result.

On top of deaths and beatings, there is growing concern over the health and safety of inmates. Staph infections are very common, leaving some with half of their body covered in sores. There are also problems relating to mental illness and the ongoing overcrowding situation.

The idea that a music video could be the only reason for someone to be angry at Sheriff Arnold is absurd.

The group Tennesseans Against Corruption, founded by Steve Lane, Joe Liggett and Jacob Bogle, demand Sheriff Arnold's resignation. Not only has he lost the confidence of the citizens of Rutherford County. Not only has his administration overseen immense suffering. Not only is Sheriff Arnold under multiple investigations for corruption. He has now shown that he has lost touch with reality, subjecting our county and the many wonderful employees of the Sheriff's Department to national ridicule. 

Please voice your support by "liking" our Oust Sheriff Arnold Facebook page and please sign our petition demanding his resignation.

--Jacob Bogle, TAC Member

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sheriff Robert Arnold Update

Since the initial story broke in April 2015 and Murfreesboro Review's first post detailing Sheriff Robert Arnold's history and the events surrounding the investigation a number of things have happened.

One of the biggest was the joint TBI-FBI raids that happened on May 21. They raided the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Arnold's home, his Chief Administrator Joe Russell's home and a second home of Russell's, and a location in Marietta, Georgia where JailCigs is based.

According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Peterson, "The search warrants were for documents and digital evidence that was collected by forensic experts by both the TBI and FBI. That information will be analyzed for any evidentiary value".

Soon after the ethics complaint was filed by Joe Liggett, Steve Lane, and Jacob Bogle, Arnold placed three officers on paid leave: Chief Administrator Joe Russell and Detective Bill Sharp were placed on paid leave a week or so after the complaint and Capt. John Frost was placed on paid leave on May 12, 2015.

Also in May, Arnold hired one of the nation's top attorneys, Tom Dundon. Dundon, of Nashville's Neal & Harwell, has a history of representing corporations and government officials including, former Gov. Don Sundquist's associate Al Ganeir who awarded an illegal contract, and aviation manufacturers involved in plane crashes.

A June 22 audit report of the Detention Center discovered several problems including: six non-functional security cameras, inadequate fire drills, problems with toxic waste and weapons logs, among other issues. This report came after Sheriff Arnold presented his budget to the County which has grown 31% since 2011. And at a time with officers on paid leave pending investigation, overtime was $900,000 more than last year.

On July 1, after becoming connected with the ethics complaint, Arnold terminated a controversial arrangement with Telmate which provided inmates with computer tablets. According to an inmate's family member, the inmate is required to pay by the minute for use and the family member or friend is also required to pay $0.25 per text, in addition to the inmate's fees. There are a number of additional fees required of both inmates and those wishing to help them, ranging from a nearly $5 charge every single time a family member wants to deposit money into the inmate's commissary account, to outrageous fees for making phone calls.

After being fired in 2012 by Joe Russell, Joy Nelson won a $307,500 settlement in an age discrimination suit on July 6, 2015. This means that tax payers have now had to pay over a combined $500,000 in settlements thanks to Sheriff Arnold and Joe Russell.

On July 11, the Editor's Board of the Daily News Journal contended that the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office under Arnold has suffered and that the citizens of Rutherford County deserve better. The DNJ cited the above mentioned settlement, an unfavorable audit result, and the ongoing investigations.

It was announced on July 23, that Detective Bill Sharp would receive a 5 day suspension for operating a private business out of the Sheriff's Office and Capt. John Frost received a 10 day suspension for developing a computer code while at work that was then sold to a private company.

On Aug. 25, 2015, it was revealed that the Sheriff's Office was being sued for wrongful termination, again. McKayla Black, who was hired in 2008, has alleged that she was fired based on her support for Arnold's political opponent. She also claims that she was demoted from booking officer to jailer once it became known she was pregnant. There have been several additional allegations by multiple people that they were either demoted or fired by Arnold after taking medical leave.

On Sept. 18, Arnold fired 38-year RCSO veteran, and third-in-command, Deputy Chief Virgil Gammon. Gammon is considering legal action against the Sheriff's Office as no reason was given for his termination and it is widely believed he has information of interest to the TBI/FBI investigation and may have done his sworn duty by giving assistance.

The group Tennesseans Against Corruption, which is behind the "Oust Sheriff Arnold" campaign, is continuing to follow the investigations and pursue an ouster suit against Sheriff Arnold. TAC asks that those who know of illegal activity and corruption at the Sheriff's Office or who have been wrongfully fired, to please publicly tell their story. If you would like to help TAC raise the needed funds for the ouster suit, please visit

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Questionable Hires of Sheriff Robert Arnold

NOTE: this list will be updated periodically as new information comes to light. This is a very fluid situation and will require continued attention. For additional updates, please visit the Tennesseans Against Corruption Facebook page on the matter.

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office has 343 full and part-time employees with another 154 or so working at the jail. No one is perfect. No doubt, if you looked at everyone you'd find something negative, a parking ticket perhaps or they were late paying taxes 10 years ago. However, under Sheriff Robert's administration, there seems to be a pattern of hiring and re-hiring people with severely compromised pasts.

Giving someone a second chance is reasonable under normal circumstances, but working in law enforcement is not a normal job. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) are the ones we as a society have granted permission to actually kill another person. They have the power to not only take a life, but to lock up another person and take their rights away, and they have the power to confiscate their property (without necessarily having to return it once the accused is declared innocent). If a mistake is made, they have the capability to completely ruin the lives of other people and their families. To whom we delegate this awesome authority, the bar must be set very high. Nothing short will suffice; after all, there's no second chances when it comes to killing or otherwise destroying the life of another person. The people we give this power to need impeccable moral fiber, integrity, and demonstrable sound judgement.

The following are several currently employed officers who were either fired or forced to resign under previous sheriffs or from other law enforcement departments (such as Murfreesboro Police) for criminal or other serious reasons, and then were later re-hired by Sheriff Arnold. It's important to remind everyone that the information below comes from publicly available sources (such as news reports and personnel files) and are about current government employees. This has nothing to really do with the people below (unless they're directly involved in the current situation), rather, this has everything to do with Sheriff Arnold and his apparent habit of hiring criminals to be the ones tasked with upholding the law and protecting us.

Given his connections to the current ethics complaint against Sheriff Arnold and the fact that he is in the middle of the ongoing inmate pepper spray incident, I will begin with Deputy James Vanderveer, whose parents own JailCigs.

James Vanderveer

On March 7, 2010, Vanderveer (who is Arnold's nephew) was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia for possession of marijuana. He later plead guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service. He became a full-time officer on Oct. 13, 2014, though he had been with the RCSO for several years prior. A waiver was filed, in connection with the Georgia arrest, with the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) so that he could remain in compliance with their regulations. 

On Feb 7, 2012, Vanderveer resigned from the Sheriff's Office and then was arrested for DUI. He was then re-hired by Sheriff Arnold. So now, this officer has a history of both drug possession and DUI. 

Then, in December 2013, Vanderveer placed inmate Demario Harris in a 4-point restraint (basically tying him to a chair so that he could not use his arms or legs), because, according to Vanderveer, Harris had been combative. However, after having Harris fully restrained and no longer a threat, Vanderveer proceeded to pepper spray Harris in the face. Harris is now seeking $300,000 in damages.

Despite all of this, Vanderveer is still employed by Arnold.

Major Terry McBurney

Major McBurney received a DUI and was demoted to serve in the detention center and received a three day suspension while working under former sheriff Truman Jones. Jones later fired McBurney after allegations of profiting off of evicting residents from rental properties and a bizarre incident involving his wife taking property from a rental unit. Under Sheriff Jones, McBurney was earning $31,430/year. Once Arnold was elected in 2010, he rehired McBurney and gave him a pay raise to $39,060. McBurney's pay was then increased in 2013 to $51,690 after being promoted to captain, and yet again in 2016 when he was made major - now earning $61,902. McBurney has also served as Arnold's traveling companion when he goes out-of-state to pick up extradited criminals.

When asked about this travel, Arnold said he considered it a "perk". He has faced criticism before from members of the County Commission relating to extradition cases. (2015 resulted in the need for $20,000 to be taken from a GED program to cover these travel expenses.) But back to Major McBurney.

McBurney seems to also have at least three Twitter accounts. He set up an account in 2010 with the Twitter name @tpm2b (which Sheriff Arnold follows) and then he created @tmcburney in 2011. That account has no tweets and only 5 followers. Of those 5, one is McBurney's current active Twitter account @tmcb811 (which he set up in 2012) and the other is his wife @ShereeMcB

The 2011 @tmcburney account is blank except for his profile picture.

(Click to enlarge image)

The shirt he's wearing in the picture says "Silly Faggot Dix Are For Chix". While this isn't illegal, it is incredibly offensive and distasteful - particularly for a public employee and officer of the law. One has to question why he chose this image (dated 1995) for his modern public profile (and since by 2011 he was back working at RCSO) and why he decided to create another Twitter account in 2012 instead of simply using the old one and while keeping that picture public?

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(Click to enlarge image)

Horrible behavior seems to be a prerequisite to be rehired.

Deputy A. J . Ross
Deputy A. J. Ross on July 4, 2013.

Deputy Ross (a "drug recognition expert") is perhaps most known for his role in the July 4th, 2013 DUI checkpoint incident during which he became enraged at local resident Chris Kalbaugh for asserting his legal rights. Deputy Ross then called a drug dog over to search Kalbaugh's car and allegedly found marijuana. However, Ross failed to arrest Kalbaugh and let him drive home. In other words, if we are to believe Ross' story, he let a drug offender drive home with no consequences.

After that affair, he was awarded "Deputy of the Year" by Sheriff Arnold in December 2013. 

Prior to that, Ross was forced to resign from the RCSO in 2004 (under Sheriff Truman Jones) after failing to appear in court to testify when there were dozens of cases on the docket. His personnel file also shows that he lied about having insurance (when he in fact did not have it) after rear-ending another vehicle. Ross was rehired by Sheriff Arnold. Once again, we have someone who was forced to leave law enforcement for illegal activities being rehired by our current sheriff.

Andrew Messick

Andrew Messick was an officer with the Murfreesboro Police Department from 2010 to 2013. In July 2013, he and his wife were arrested for drug possession after a TBI investigation. They attempted to trade their TV to get hydrocodone pills (which the DEA has recently re-classified as a Schedule II narcotic, the highest level of prescription drug). He was initially decommissioned, though later, the MPD Chief of Police recommended that his employment be terminated.

According those working at the Sheriff's Office, Messick, a drug offender, now works at the detention center.

Kenneth Zook

Finally, there's Kenneth Zook. In early 2010, under former Sheriff Truman Jones, Deputy Kenneth Zook was forced to resign after pictures came to light about a party he attended and his refusal to comply with the investigation (which included a drug test). Sheriff Robert Arnold rehired him and he still works for the RCSO.

The issue at hand wasn't that Zook was out partying and drinking, but that at the party were drugs of an unknown type, possibly marijuana, and that all of this was being done in a room with a young child (it was revealed that other children were at the party, but the photos only show one girl). This shows that Zook has very poor judgement in that, being a law enforcement officer at the time, he didn't seem to see any problem with a room full of adults drinking and drugging while a young girl was mingling in the mix. The World Health Organization has found strong links between young children being exposed to such situations and later growing up with behavioral and substance abuse problems themselves.

Here are some of the pictures in question. These pictures had been placed on MySpace at the time and were brought to the attention of Sheriff Jones. I have obscured the faces of everyone except that of Kenneth Zook. I have also tried to hide any unique markings on the clothing of the other attendees in an attempt to further shield their identity. (Click the pictures for a larger view.)

It was also reported to me, from a source (I'll call "Q") who wishes to remain anonymous, that in 2013, after having been re-hired by Arnold earlier, the Zook family was using his position in the RCSO to harass Q and intimidate Q into dropping a legal case. All of this (and more) was reported to multiple people in authority at the time, but as of yet, nothing has been done. As stated earlier, Zook is still employed with the department.

I called the RSCO about further questionable deputies, but at the time of publication I have not received a reply. 

For continual updates, please take the time to visit:
To review the beginnings of the Sheriff Robert Arnold controversy, please see this article.

--Jacob Bogle (Originally published on April 29, 2015. Updated on June 5, 2016.)