Arriola watches as council delays resolution vote calling for ouster

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 11:11pm

With embattled Davidson County Clerk John Arriola on hand, the Metro Council delayed voting on a resolution Tuesday that calls for his removal from office, opting to defer the bill one meeting after it didn’t clear committee.

In attendance at the Metro Courthouse, Arriola declined to comment on the matter to The City Paper, but acknowledged he was pleased with the deferral.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilman Robert Duvall, came after a series of NewsChannel5 reports that showed Arriola charged $40 fees to couples he married, and did not record or disclose the transactions, among several other revelations.

But the council, by procedural rule, voted to defer the resolution after the council’s Rules-Confirmations-Public Elections Committee deferred it an hour earlier. In committee, members had several legal questions after considering a substitute resolution by Councilman Sam Coleman that would have asked Arriola to take an unpaid leave of absence instead. The Metro Department of Law is reviewing the proposal.

“That really clouded the issue,” Duvall said afterwards, promising to bring the bill back in two weeks, which will be the final meeting of the 2007-11 council.

“It’s a shame,” he added. “We should have had an up-or-down vote, but didn’t.”

The Arriola resolution — which is non-binding and has no direct policy effect — is similar to legislation that predated beleaguered Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence’s resignation from office.

But unlike the Torrence situation, there is already an investigation underway regarding Arriola: District Attorney Torry Johnson has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into Arriola’s actions.

Arriola’s legal representation seemed encouraged by the council’s deferral.

“We’re glad Mr. Arriola has been afforded one of the greatest principles in the United States and our law,” said attorney Bryan Lewis, who is representing Arriola, along with attorney George Barrett. “That is the presumption of innocence.

“We feel like Mr. Arriola is an innocent man, and we intend to prove that,” he said.     

14 Comments on this post:

By: willtw on 8/3/11 at 4:41

the question is: did he or did he not take fees charged for county authorized services and where did the money go if not accounted for in the receipts of his office? Receipts for fees collected must be somewhere....FOLLOW THE MONEY!

By: willtw on 8/3/11 at 4:44

If the clerk did pocket the money, then there had better be a 1099 form on file authorizing his independent contractor status with the County in which case, if he were salaried, providing services on the County's dime, THEN HE OWES THE PROCEEDS OF ALL OF HIS SALARY BACK TO THE COUNTY! And that is salary NOT celery!!!!!

By: T-BONE on 8/3/11 at 5:30

Arriola is a classic example of why most people do not believe or trust govenment anymore! The dice are loaded, the deck is stacked, the game is rigged! Nashville is so "good ole boyed" that it is a laughing stock to anybody with 1/2 a brain! There is one set of "rules" for citizens, and another for corrupt politicians! And the...... "I SCREWED YOU AWARD" goes to JOHNNY BOY ARRIOLA!

By: 5 Fingers on 8/3/11 at 7:21

At least the police were able to arrest Carl Bean:

By: youmustbekiddingme on 8/3/11 at 7:36

No words. The council members must have weddings scheduled at the discount rate of $20. Can't give that up.

By: ajkeys31 on 8/3/11 at 7:58

The problem in our government is they do not treat everyone equally. Why are the things they do pushed under the rug, most of them are employed due to knowing someone with some pull or its their family members they hire. I was married by Mr. Arriola a few months ago and i questioned the amount and was told that was the donation fee. Never knew a donation was a fee, but felt if the office allowed it then ok but i had an uneasy feeling about it . I feel he should have to pay back everyone he did it too because he falsely charged us making it seem like it was a required fee. But as far as him losing his job i dont think that he should have to resign for his mistake, we are human and no one is exempt from screwing up.

By: bfra on 8/3/11 at 8:24

ajkeys31 -It isn't a small matter of just screwing up, he had the trust of the people that voted for him and he violated that trust. He is a thief & liar. Why the council delayed asking for his ouster, is just showing, that sort protects their own.

By: futrconslr on 8/3/11 at 9:02

If the resolution is non-binding and has no policy effect then why would they have to get a Metro Legal opinion? Someone owed somebody a favor.

By: concretemike on 8/3/11 at 10:11

“We’re glad Mr. Arriola has been afforded one of the greatest principles in the United States and our law,” said attorney Bryan Lewis, who is representing Arriola, along with attorney George Barrett. “That is the presumption of innocence.

“We feel like Mr. Arriola is an innocent man, and we intend to prove that,” he said.

Uh does John know what "innocent' means because he has already admitted to accepting $40.00 to marry couples, and by accepting John means it was required for John to marry you......doesn't sound to innocent to me....

By: kea1392 on 8/3/11 at 11:42

He is allowed by state law to accept money for weddings. Within the law he is allowed to set an amount. It also states he is allowed to solicit during and after work hours. Prior clerks did weddings and also charged even more than $40.The news isn't reporting that the wedding money is legal and allowed. Even if you went to a preacher to preform a wedding, they charge hundreds. $40 is cheap compared to hiring a preacher. Before everyone assumes what he is doing is wrong, take the time to look up information yourself and take everything you see on the news with a grain of salt. I suggest instead of fussing about him, fuss about the state law and attempt to change it. He's only doing what prior clerks did and he's only abiding by the law.

Check out Tennessee Code Ann. 36-3-301(c)

By: bfra on 8/3/11 at 12:10

kea - Go back and read the whole code!

By: Nitzche on 8/3/11 at 12:22

oh, ole john is ok, he is on the" right" team?

By: kea1392 on 8/3/11 at 12:40

(c) Any gratuity received by a county mayor, county clerk or municipal mayor for the solemnization of a marriage, whether performed during or after such person's regular working hours, shall be retained by such person as personal renumeration for such services, in addition to any other sources of compensation such person might receive, and such gratuity shall not be paid into the county general fund or the treasury of such municipality.

By: bfra on 8/3/11 at 1:15

it is not lawful for such officials to charge a fee or demand compensation for performing wedding ceremonies.1
As a general rule, elected officials must always guard and protect the interest of the public and may not use their public office directly or indirectly for a personal profit.