The “Tennessee Waltz” Sting Was 10 Years ago

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) – It’s been 10 years since some of the state’s highest profile politicians found themselves facing public corruption charges.
Three of them were Chattanoogans, and two went to jail.
Here’s a backward glance at what came to be known as "the Tennessee Waltz."
The investigation began in 2005 when FBI agents set up a phony computer company, and offered cash money for help in getting government contracts and favorable legislation. Five Tennessee lawmakers took the bait.
Sen. Ward Crutchfield had a 30 year career in public service. He was convicted of taking 3-thousand dollars for his part in the set-up. One of the last to be tried, Crutchfield pleaded guilty and was ordered to repay the money and serve a term of probation and home confinement.

Former Hamilton county commissioner William Cotton was sentenced to 3 years in prison on bribery charges and began his sentence in June of 2005.

Hamilton county School board member Charles Love received a 12 month sentence in 2007 for being the bag-man for those taking bribes.
He spent the last 30 days in a federal half-way house run by the Salvation Army in Chattanooga.
In Bradley county, state representive Chris Newton went to federal prison is 2006. He served 9 and a half months which ended in February 2007. He’s now a businessman in Cleveland.

Here’s the way many people felt when it all came down.

SCOTT TRAVIS, CHATTANOOGA, 5/26/05 "You always wondered if something like this is going on…its good to know that somebody takes initiative to find out what’s going on..its probably everywhere."
Altogether, seven Tennessee lawmakers were convicted in that case.
State senator Kathryn Bowers, State Senator Roscoe Dixon, and State Senator John Ford were from Memphis.
They all went to jail, along with a Shelby county commissioner.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Government & Politics, Local News

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