Nashville lawsuits target unsolicited robocalls in recall effort

    Nashville Mayor John Cooper at a recent press conference. (Photo: Metro Nashville News)
    Nashville Mayor John Cooper at a recent press conference. (Photo: Metro Nashville News)

    Two federal lawsuits were filed on July 17 against an anti-tax group that made unsolicited robocalls to Davidson County voters encouraging support for an effort to recall Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Metro Council members.

    The class action lawsuits claim that the anti-tax group No Tax 4 Nash broke federal laws that ban such calls to people’s cell phones.

    Because No Tax 4 Nash has been vague about the legal entity behind the recall effort and refused to disclose who has donated money to their cause, the lawsuits name as defendants the grassroots organizers who have been quoted in conservative media outlets as leaders, Michelle Forman and Kimberly Edwards.

    As the lawsuits play out, the recall effort has failed. According to the Metro Clerk Elizabeth Waites, there were no successful petitions filed with her office before the deadline on Monday.

    Nashville attorney John Spragens filed one suit on behalf of school board member Rachael Ann Elrod, political activist Sarah Martin and Andrew Kaufman. The robocall apparently went out to all registered Davidson County voters with a phone number on file with the election commission.

    In a separate lawsuit, attorney Joe Leniski sued No Tax 4 Nash on similar grounds.

    Leniski was the lead attorney in a class action lawsuit that successfully settled against charter school Nashville Prep for $2.2 million over unsolicited text messages.

    The recall petition drive was the first of two linked, but apparently separate, efforts in response to Cooper and council approving a 34 percent property tax increase.

    Last week, a petition drive was launched to trigger a charter referendum that would require voter approval of a property tax increase of more than 2 percent. The referendum also would give voters the power to approve certain bond issuances and block Metro from giving away public land.

    The referendum petition drive has until next month to gather enough signatures. To achieve a recall, at least 10 percent of the voters from the most recent county-wide election, or 10 percent of the voters in a specific council district, must sign a petition.

    The referendum petition drive has until next month to gather enough signatures.

    To achieve the referendum recall, at least 10 percent of the voters from the most recent county-wide election must sign the petition.