Spfd. Alderman Sues R.C. Chamber Over Records Request
SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Springfield Alderman Clay Sneed filed a lawsuit in General Sessions Court today against the Robertson County Chamber in hopes that a judge will force the Chamber to release more information on how they spend their money.
Sneed is asking to see “the books” that, according to him, are the basis of a “summary” he has been receiving from the Chamber. Sneed’s not interested in a summary, he wants to see the actual books themselves.
Sneed declined to comment in detail on the matter due to the pending litigation but he did offer some perspective on the suit.
“The Robertson County Chamber of Commerce budget is in the neighborhood of $500,000. There’s four or five employees there, I want to see the breakdown to-the-cent of how they appropriate all the tax dollars and the membership dues they receive,” Sneed said.
Smokey Barn News reached out to the Robertson County Chamber for comment however a spokesperson was not immediately available. With the pending suit, it’s not likely the Chamber will comment but if they do reach out to us with a statement we will bring it to you.
Sneed says the Chamber bylaws and the fact that they are a 501C3 organization grants him the right to see the books. Sneed says the Chamber does not feel they are legally compelled to show him the books. Now it will be up to a judge to decide.
Here’s the section that Sneed references in his suit. According to Sneed it gives him the right to see the books.
Article 8: SECTION 6. The Executive Committee shall cause to be reviewed annually the books and accounts of the Chamber at the close of business for the fiscal year, and report it’s findings to the Board of Directors and make the same available to the membership. All recommendations for expenditures outside the budget shall be submitted to the Executive Committee whose recommendations shall be submitted to the Board.
Below is a copy of the Chamber’s response to the request forwarded to Smokey Barn News by Sneed.. Note the section in bold.
“Since 2005, the Chamber Board has contracted with an independent accountant (Frank Luppe) to create payroll checks, submit payroll taxes, prepare an annual financial statement and file our 990 each year. In this role he “reviews” the books and accounts and produces a year end financial report to the Board. As I mentioned in response to your previous request, the fiscal year ends March 31, and Mr. Luppe is currently in the process of producing the year-end report and 990 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. When it is available you are welcome to have a copy of that report and of the 990… the general membership is not granted the ability to “review the books and accounts”…that is the independent accountant’s role.”
What Mr. Sneed is looking for is called a Mandamus which is a type of command order to comply. Two legal experts we spoke to indicated that the General Sessions Court Judge may not have the authority to decide this case and it may be forwarded to another court.
Below is a copy of the suit filed today.
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