Following a series of damaging reports by WTVF-TV NewsChannel 5, District Attorney Torry Johnson has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to launch a probe into the office of Davidson County Clerk John Arriola.
“The Nashville taxpayers are deserving of some answers,” Johnson said. “In watching some of these stories, and hearing the responses, it seems that an investigation is the best way to get to the bottom of it.”
The NewsChannel 5 reports uncovered a number of revelations into Arriola’s office: The clerk had been charging a $40 fee (Arriola called it a “gratuity” in one report) to couples he married and failed to provide documented records for the fee. He used taxpayer dollars to obtain a $33,000 sports utility vehicle. Arriola also tapped campaign treasurer Leighton Bush to work as a clerk’s office part-time employee, but Bush seems to lack clearly defined responsibilities in his government role.
Johnson recently conducted an investigation into Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence’s work habits. Johnson’s finding likely led to Torrence’s resignation.
Johnson said the investigation of the Davidson County Clerk’s Office may not reveal anything criminal in nature, but did not want to speculate on the investigation’s findings.
Johnson said he expects the examination to include reviewing books and records, as well as interviewing individuals both from within and outside the office. The investigation does not have a timeframe.
Mayor Karl Dean has called for an audit of Arriola’s office.