Former Monty Bruell staffer alleges unpaid wages

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Former Chattanooga mayoral candidate Monty Bruell is facing controversy after a former campaign staffer claims that she didn’t get
paid for her work.

“I feel like I really got ripped off,” says former Bruell communications director Alix Thornhill.

In an exclusive interview with News 12, Thornhill described her grievances with Bruell.

“Monty should not have agreed to pay me if I were not going to get paid,” she says.

Thornhill provided News 12 with text messages, she claims one from
Bruell discusses payment for her work, mentioning terms of a contract.

“He told me that I should keep a timetable and keep log of all of my
hours and at the end of the campaign he shut down my campaign email
account and deleted all of my files,” she says.

She also provided what she says is an audio recording of a
conversation she had with Bruell.

A voice that Thornhill claims belongs to Bruell says the following:

“If there’s any way that my influence could benefit you, if there’s a
gig that you would like to have, I can help you get it. You know, I
would certainly do everything in my power to help,”

Monty Bruell would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the recording.

He instead responded with a written statement:

“I don’t have any comment other than to say that Alix’s allegations
are untrue, malicious, and slanderous. She has illegally deleted our
campaign’s intellectual property and has hijacked our Facebook pages.
I told several staff members that I would be happy to discuss them, if
we met our fundraising goals. We didn’t come close to meeting those
goals, so no one got paid. Alix is the only person who is
misrepresenting what I said.”

I also spoke with other former campaign staffers, who said that they
were working with the understanding that it would be on a volunteer
basis.

“I can speak to my experience that Monty said that if we reached
certain fundraising goals, then we can think about compensation. But I
had no expectation if we didn’t reach that,” says former deputy campaign manager, Jeremy Grabiner.

“We live and die by contracts these days so if it’s not on paper, you
shouldn’t have any expectations otherwise,” adds former outreach director, Kelsey McBride.

Tennessee law says otherwise.

Verbal contracts or agreements are valid in Tennessee. Both sides have
said legally threatening language, and nether have taken the next
step yet.

“I only worked for him under the guise that I would be paid,” says Thornhill.

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