Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

January 21, 2014

Souza offers records to citizen group

CROSSVILLE — Crossville Councilman Pete Souza continues to ignore the subpoena voted by the Crossville City Council to turn over files that he claims show evidence of wrongdoing by members of council and others. Instead, he has said he will give them to an ad-hoc committee to review.

That committee will be headed by Crossville resident Lou Morrison.

During the December city council meeting, Souza stated the citizens were entitled to a resolution of the issues that he has been claiming since before his election. The motion approved by a majority of council last month had set a deadline for Souza to provide those records as Jan. 1 under the subpoena powers spelled out in the Crossville city charter. Souza's comment following the December meeting was that the council would have to figure out how to enforce its order.

At the January meeting, Souza began by asking city attorney Chadwell, “I've passed my time frame on delivering my records, what's going on?”

Chadwell responded saying, “You've not delivered any records. Maybe you need to tell us what's going on because, really, I don't think you have anything. Because I think that if you had anything, you would have disclosed it already.”

When Souza asked Chadwell if he thought the district attorney was “blowing smoke,” Chadwell responded, “No, I think the DA is doing what this council voted the DA to do and that is to take a look at all this stuff and look into it to clear the good name of this city of Crossville and this council. There is nothing there to be found.”

Souza asked Morrison to the podium. Morrison and his wife, dermatologist Dr. Kendall Morrison, own Taylor Square, the former Taylor Hotel, along with a number of additional rental and commercial properties locally.

He began by asking Morrison if he would describe their relationship as acquaintances but not friends to which Morrison responded, “Acquaintance, friend, yes.”

Souza continued saying to Morrison, “You chewed my ass out a about three months ago didn't you.”

That remark elicited a call down from Graham and a comment to Souza to “watch your language.” Souza responded, “You'll get over it.” Graham responded more forcefully, “Mr. Souza, I want you to watch your language, please!” It was pointed out to Souza there were children in the chamber and others that could be listening in on the Internet.

Souza said to Morrison that he had never been chewed out that long since he was a PFC (private first-class). The chewing out came about because of what Morrison had interpreted as an ethics violation. Souza said, “I took it, because you were right.”

Souza continued, “I have a lot of respect for you and I'd like you to volunteer for something. I'm going to ask you to head an oversight committee of people you pick to look at the records that I don't have.”

Once the records have been reviewed by the committee, Souza said they could come back and brief the public about “whether I have anything or I'm blowing smoke up everybody's ass.”

At this point, Graham said, “That's it, you're done! Don't say another word! You are using profanity in our meetings!”

Souza toned down his language and asked Morrison if he would be willing to form the committee. Morrison agreed. Souza said he'd like Morrison to form the committee between three and six members and then Souza will provide the information. Based on the committee's judgment, they can report to the public as to the content of the materials.

Referring to the city council, who previously subpoenaed the records in question, Souza stated, “These people here don't want this information. They want me to look like an idiot and that's why they are trying real hard today to suppress what I'm saying.”

No motion was offered concerning the action by Souza. 

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