“Karma’s a …”: Comptroller report on DA Pinkston has Boyd calling for his resignation

County Commissioner Tim Boyd says he's vindictive, but doesn't want a DA in office that violates the law

The state comptroller’s office wrapped up an investigation into the hiring and continued employment of relatives in the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office.

The conclusion? D-A Neal Pinkston violated the state’s nepotism policy.

When the comptroller’s report found its way to our inbox this afternoon, there were already several statements that followed: from D-A Neal Pinkston’s office to his opponent in the upcoming election, Coty Wamp.

But nothing rivaled what Pinkston’s biggest critic, County Commissioner Tim Boyd, had to say…

“Karma’s a (expletive). Am I vindictive? Yes. I’ve got all the reason in the world to be vindictive. Does this shadow the facts that the guy broke the law? No.”

Pinkston already had Melydia Clewell on his staff as the public information officer, and promoted her to chief of staff before marrying her in November of 2019. Only a few months later, Pinkston hired Melydia’s brother, Kerry, to be an investigator in the department.

When Pinkston married Clewell, he was in violation of the state’s nepotism act, and doubled down by hiring her brother. Pinkston tried to circumvent the law by making them both Hamilton County employees, but since the state funds the D-A’s office, that move didn’t matter.

John Dunn, the communications director for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, says, “Our investigation doesn’t speak to why that transfer took place when it did. What we know is that it doesn’t matter who is paying the salaries of these two employees. They’re both considered state employees, and, therefore, their employment violates that state’s nepotism policy.”

With that, Boyd went all in. “D-A Pinkston should not be in office. In fact, he should be resigning, and he should be paying…he should have his wife and brother-in-law refund every penny that the state of Tennessee paid them during his violation of the nepotism act.”

The D-A’s office said both Melydia and Kerry Clewell were “put on leave, effective immediately.”

This matter still may not be fully resolved. Dunn says the state has every right to take back the money paid to the Clewells, but likely won’t choose to do it. On the other hand, the state attorney general is now looking into the matter, and further charges could be pending.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Government & Politics, Hamilton County, Local News

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