The Look in Brief

Franklin ethics commission finds alderman violated ethics code with messages to Nashville airport

By: - July 27, 2023 3:42 pm
Williamson County Courthouse in Franklin, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Williamson County Courthouse in Franklin, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The Franklin Ethics Commission substantiated evidence that Alderman Gabrielle Hanson violated ethics codes and will  recommend to the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen that she should be censured following a commission hearing held Thursday afternoon.

The committee met to consider multiple complaints submitted by citizens after Hanson sent emails and text messages from personal accounts to Doug Kreulen, president and CEO of the Metro Nashville Airport Authority,  about the airport’s support of a Juneteenth event hosted by the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition.

“To put it mildly, our citizens are outraged and angry,” Hanson wrote. “Is it the mission of BNA to support Juneteenth? Is it the mission of BNA to support radical [agendas] that are dividing our country? That is the question our citizens would like answered.”

Hanson also encouraged a donation to be made to a different organization in the same amount BNA gave to FJEC.

While several complaints were dismissed from the record because their authors did not wish to address the committee or were not present, Pastor Walter Simmons, founder and president of FJEC, addressed the meeting and encouraged the committee to consider Hanson’s recent track record.

“This is part of a pattern for Alderman Hanson,” Simmons said. “This is clearly an issue that must be dealt with.”

In May, the ethics commission dismissed more than 60 complaints about Hanson after the first term alderman publicly attributed the motive of the March 27 mass shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School to a love triangle involving the shooter. 

After about two hours of hearings, rebuttal from Hanson’s legal representation and public comment, committee member Vona Wilson moved to submit a written decision declaring Hanson violated ethics codes and that the committee recommend her censure to the mayor and Board of Alderman. Chairman Jim Martin seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous.

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Lonnie Lee Hood
Lonnie Lee Hood

Lonnie Lee Hood is a queer Nashville-based writer covering justice, LGBTQ issues and more. They are an amateur roller-skater and live with their hedgehog, Noodle, and three-legged cat, Tom. They are writing a debut novel and have published poetry and sci-fi/fantasy short stories.