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A trial date has been set in the federal case against the former head of the Upper Cumberland Development District. Wendy Askins has been indicted on charges related to the million-dollar “Living the Dream” home in rural Putnam County. The trial for Askins and two co-defendants, Dekalb County Mayor Mike Foster and former assistant director, Larry Webb will be May 20th. Askins was indicted in September by a federal grand jury on a host of charges, including conspiracy, embezzlement, bank fraud and money laundering. In addition to federal charges, Askins is also facing state charges including theft over $60,000, forgery and money laundering.
Crossville City Councilman Pete Souza says he will not turn over documents in his possession regarding ethics violations committed by members of the Council. City Attorney Kenneth Chadwell said that he was asked by Crossville City Manager David Rutherford to compile documents and submit them to an outside source to review them, if the Council wished. Chadwell respectfully asked Souza to produce those documents, saying he believed them to be public records, and Souza presenting them would save the City a great deal of money. Souza says he refused to produce items in his possession, stating that while he agreed with Chadwell that this matter should be “laid to rest,” that he didn’t believe the records were public. Souza says he paid “thousands of dollars” and travelled throughout the state to obtain these items that he says are a part of an ongoing investigation. Souza said that he planned to present 2 motions at the January City Council meeting, which would bring the matters to light. The Councilman said that he would also be establishing a “means for the public to make judgment” on him regarding whether he should remain in office.
33 year old Crossville businessman Vipul Manubhai Patel has chosen to plead guilty to one felony count of sales tax evasion in Cumberland County Criminal Court. Cumberland County Judge David A. Patterson ruled that Patel be placed on one year unsupervised probation and pay more than $99,000 in restitution to the state for sales tax owed. Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts says "This investigation serves as a reminder that retailers are not entitled to use or keep sales tax monies”… rather, "sales tax revenues collected by retailers are never property of the retailer and are always the property of our state and local governments. These taxes must be remitted to the state as required by law." Patel is the owner of JASH Corporation, which is doing business as Tobacco and Beverage Mart.
A 20 year old Crossville man has been arrested following an armed robbery in Knoxville. Surveillance photos show Daniel Kerley at the BB&T bank on Parkside Drive. According to the FBI, a man entered the bank in the Turkey Creek area, brandishing a silver handgun and demanded money from the bank employees. After obtaining money from the bank, the man fled on foot. Kerley was identified as the suspect in the robbery and was arrested through the joint efforts of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of the FBI; Knoxville Police Department; Knox County Sheriff's Office and the KPD Major Crimes Unit, as well as the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. Kerley is being held at the Cumberland County Justice Center
Photo courtesy FBI
Crossville City Councilman Danny Wyatt says he's "over it" when it comes to allegations of criminal activity. Wyatt was responding to Councilman Pete Souza's statement that he has turned over documents to the FBI, TBI and the IRS Fraud Division in regards to illegal and unethical activity. Wyatt motioned that a subpeona be issued so these documents would be turned over to the Council by January 1st. The motion passed.