Circuit Court Judge Mark Rogers heard the final witness Thursday (8/1/2013) in the lawsuit accusing Sheriff Robert Arnold of illegally raiding and confiscating property in October, 2010, that belonged to the former Rutherford County Wrestling Club, a 501 (c) (3) organization. It was located on the Blackman Middle School campus.
Ruling Probably 1-Week Away
Judge Rogers is now studying the arguments and evidence presented in the procedings and will make a ruling in the case later. A person in the judge's office told WGNS News that it would probably be a week before a determination is made.
Consumated With Handshake, No Contract
Former Sheriff Truman Jones and former School Superintendent Harry Gill, Jr. told the judge that they consumated a 20-year arrangement with a handshake for use of the school property. The wrestling group then allegedly built the structure with donated funds. Reports indicate that much conflicting evidence was presented during the five-day court session.
Defense Attorney Thomas Santel contends there is no written agreement on file with the county, and they have no more right to use the faciity than any other school organization. On the other side, the Wrestling Club's Attorney Ken Burger is asking for $200,000 for the cost of the building and its contents.
The Wrestling Club was said to have been founded to help at-risk youth by Major Bill Kennedy, former head of the local School Resource Officers. He resigned when the new sheriff took office and allegedly demoted him to entry-level jailer. Kennedy, now with the Lebanon Police Department, said the filing cabinet, seized in the raid three years ago, contained social security numbers and other personal information on the youth who participated in what was known as the Sheriff's Sharpshooters.
WGNS will give you Judge Mark Rogers ruling as soon as it is made. In the meantime, Bill Kennedy is considering adding his name to the growing list of candidates who indicate they will be running for the office of sheriff.