Smokey Barn News, Sunday November 24, 2013 Grenbrier TN
Greenbrier Mayor Billy Wilson Asked To Step Down
If you recall, Billy Wilson the long time Mayor and Fire Chief of the city of Greenbrier was arrested back on November 4th. Wilson has been indicted by the TBI for allegedly using $60,000 in funds delegated for a Toys For Tots program for personal gain. Additionally Wilson is under investigation for allegedly misusing city funds but no indictment has been filed at this time. Billy Wilson has been the mayor of Greenbrier since 2004. The Toys for Tots program helps needy families pay their utility bills and supplies toys to children on Christmas. $60,000 means it’s a class B felony, the 2nd highest felony to class A.
A source close to the situation recently informed Smokey and we believe with a high level of certainty that a special executive board meeting was held on Friday November 2nd at 10AM by the Greenbrier Board of Mayor and Alderman. A representative of the board asked Mayor Wilson to step down from both his position as Mayor and Fire chief for the city of Greenbrier. Our sources also indicated that Wilson declined to step down, so he is still the Mayor and Fire chief. We also know that the decision to ask Wilson to step down was by no means unanimous. There were seven people in the room, including the Greenbrier City Attorney Bill Vernich, Vice Mayor Bonnette Dawson and Mayor Wilson. Alderman Steve Higdon was not present. As we understand it the reasoning for asking Wilson to step down was that the situation is casting a bad light on the city of Greenbrier. With Wilson’s high-profile position as fire chief and mayor he is in the public eye more often. The question is, has the lengthy investigation by the TBI (which has likely permeated all levels of leadership in Greenbrier) on the two alleged accusations begun to erode confidence in Wilson. It’s important to note that when Wilson was asked to step down it was not an official action of record and not the result of a vote, he was just asked.
We reached out to Mayor Wilson and he again indicated that he will offer no comment on the current litigation, however, on the Board of Mayor and Alderman’s decision to ask Wilson to step down Wilson stopped short of confirming it. Wilson told Smokey “I was hoping that people would wait until the court renders an official decision after my case has been heard before casting judgment”
As we understand it the Board of Mayor and Alderman’s next step will be to try to strip Mayor Wilson of his administrative powers. We believe that Greenbrier leadership is currently examining options to that end. The city will try to pass an ordnance to remove Wilson’s administrative powers and then ask for a vote to remove him as fire chief at the next public board meeting on December 2nd at 7:00PM, according to a source close to the situation. If the board is successful stripping Wilson of his administrative powers it is unlikely that his salary will stop, he will just become a sort of lame duck. As far as his salary as fire chief, there isn’t one because that position is volunteer. One source told Smokey that Wilson has approximately 50% of the board’s support but that was just a best guess. It is unlikely that Wilson will attend the December 2nd meeting due to the on going investigation.
What is not completely clear is, if the board is successful at effectively removing Wilson from the two jobs will they vote to reinstate him if he is exonerated. If Wilson did step down on his own he would need to run in the next term to move back into office.
Wilson is very popular in the Greenbrier area and many have reached out in his support. It is clear that Wilson has helped many families in need over the years. There is even a special Facebook page called Support Greenbrier Mayor Billy Wilson. It will be interesting to see how a public meeting will go for Wilson. I guess the big question is, would the Board of Mayor and Alderman in any way be affected by a large turnout of support.
Smokey did reach out to Vice Mayor Bonnette Dawson and Jeff DeLong and the only comment we received was that the city attorney told them not to talk to the media.
Smokey will continue to track this developing story.
Jim Ball reporting
Smokey Barn News November 4, 2013 Greenbrier, Tenn.
According to The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Billy Wilson the long time Mayor and Fire Chief of the city of Greenbrier in Robertson County Tennessee was arrested Monday a little after 1pm at City Hall. Wilson has been indicted for allegedly using $60,000 in funds delegated for a Toys For Tots program for personal gain. Billy Wilson has been the mayor of Greenbrier since 2004. The Toys for Tots program helps needy families pay their utility bills and and supplies toys to children on Christmas. $60,000 means it’s a class B felony, the 2nd highest felony to class A….
We don’t know for sure if Wilson will immediately step down as Mayor and Fire Chief but at the moment he has not stepped aside. On Tuesday he arrived at work and made no indication he was leaving. If he does step down or is somehow voted out, Fire Chief Gary Suter and Fire Marshal Larry Diorio would take over for Wilson and Vice Mayor Bonnette Dawson would assume Mayor responsibilities, according to Greenbrier Alderman Wayne Dugger.
Officially the TBI has stated that they arrested Wilson Monday afternoon at Greenbrier City Hall. He was indicted this past Friday by the Robertson County grand jury.
According to a TBI Press release sent to Smokey Barn News…
Billy Eugene Wilson, 56, of Greenbrier, Tenn. was indicted on one count of official misconduct and one count of theft over $60,000 for allegedly taking money for personal benefit from the Greenbrier Toys for Tots charity. The alleged theft took place between November 1, 2005 and October 31, 2013. Wilson allegedly took approximately $60,000 from the charity to pay his personal expenses. Wilson is also alleged to have perpetrated the alleged theft through his position as Mayor, Volunteer Fire Chief and founder of Greenbrier Toys for Tots. The investigation into allegations that Wilson also misused city funds is continuing at this time.
Jim Ball’s recap..
Apparently the Robertson County Grand Jury was presented with enough evidence that they felt Wilson should be indicted. Wilson was picked up at work by the Robertson County Sheriff’s department, transported to the Robertson County detention facility in Springfield and quickly bonded out of jail. It will now be up to him to prove his innocence in court. Wilson is so well known and liked in the area that it may take a little longer to put together an impartial jury to hear his case. He has a reputation of being very generous to families in need.
Wilson was booked into the Robertson County detention facility on $5,000 bond. He has since posted bond and was released.
For Original Story – VIDEO: Greenbrier Mayor Under TBI Investigation For Alleged Misuse Of Toys For Tots Funds Click Here http://youtu.be/uZiWdgX4MTM
Toys For Tots program Will Continue: Greenbrier Mayor Billy Wilson Announces Greenridge Civitans To Continue The Toys For Tots Program This Year Click here
The GreenRidge Civitan Club will be taking over the Toys-for-Tots program this year. “We want to be able to help families in need. We cannot help to the extent that Mayor Wilson was able to, but will try our best to do all that we can.” There is a phone set up for calls. If you know someone who may need help providing for their families at Christmas let them know. The phone # is 615-418-9672. There will be bins for donations at The Farmer’s Bank, The Potting Shed, and opportunities to donate everywhere, we hope. This is for the Greenbrier/Ridgetop area only.
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