Monday, June 14, 2010

Hartline Campaign intercepts smear campaign

This weekend I received the following email from some one named Kimberly Kay:

From: Kimberly Kay
Subject: Jeff Hartline Article - correction and more information
Date: Sunday, June 13, 2010, 9:03 PM

I read the article, in the Tennessean this morning, about Mr. Jeff Hartline. The paper mentioned that Hartline's cabinet shop was based out of Wisconsin, however, Worth Custom Woodworks LLC was actually in Nashville, TN. I have attached scans of the court records. Mr. Hartline's cabinet business was sold at an absolute auction last year and he is scheduled appear in court tomorrow concerning a recent judgement. I was unaware that Hartline had secured Rep. Johnson's endorsement. I'm not sure why, since he has recently been involved in a lawsuit and has at least one judgement against him. This isn't the first time either, in 1994-96 he had several more judgements, all associated with his LLC "Hartline & Assoc.) Again, I thought you might find this information interesting and I've attached the court records.
The attached court record did not shed any light on the allegations and I was still not sure what to make of this. If Kimberly Kay thought I was going to rush to blog about this, she was mistaken.

I know that honorable people are often sued. I am just an average citizen, not an independent businessman, and have had to sue people twice in my life and was counter sued both times. Also I was once sued for a very minor dispute involving an item I sold at a yard sale, if you can believe it. In addition I had some very damaging untruthful allegation made against me in a divorce proceeding. If one had only published the allegations in the suits and not my counter suit or not published the results of the suit, I would look like a pretty bad guy.

I know this: Because someone alleges something in a law suit does not make it true. Anyone can sue anyone for any reason. Many honorable people have been sued. If you have never been sued or sued anyone you have probably never done much of anything.

The allegations spread rabidly and several people contacted me wanting to know what I knew about this. I didn't know anything. No one was alleging any wrong doing on the part of Hartline, they were just seeking information and forwarding something of interest.

Today Hartline released the following press release:

Worth Custom Woodworks
Summary: Jeff Hartline is paying off about $5,000 in debts incurred by a former employer
who failed to pay vendors.

  • Jeff Hartline was hired in 2007 to manage the shop for Worth Custom Woodworks, a new custom cabinetry shop owned by two local custom home builders.

  • Jeff was never an owner of Worth Custom Woodworks.

  • On behalf of the company's owners, Jeff hired the staff, directed the purchase of equipment, set up the shop, established relationships with vendors and sold business for manufacturing.

  • Worth Custom Woodworks opened as the housing sector began to decline, leading to a drop in business for its owners’ home-building business and, of course, less demand for cabinetry produced by Worth Custom Woodworks.

  • In 2008, Jeff went to work as a manufacturer’s rep for a company that supplied components to cabinet shops. Jeff’s former employers at Worth Custom Woodworks assured him that he would be removed as a guarantor of any of the company’s debts.

  • In summer 2009, more than a full year later, the owners of Worth Custom Woodworks closed the business amid the broad decline in new home construction, and sold the company’s assets at auction.

  • Several months later, Jeff received calls from a couple of his former employer’s vendors about unpaid bills. Jeff directed them to the principals to have the invoices paid. When they were unable to contact the former owners of Worth Custom Woodworking, the vendors sought payment from Hartline because, despite the assurances of his prior employers, he was still listed as a guarantor on the vendor files.
Although no fair-minded person would think it right that an employee would have to pay off debts incurred by his employer, Jeff has stepped up to pay from personal funds about $5,000 in debts to two vendors who were left “high and dry” by his former employer.
As far as I am concerned the issue is settled. Jeff's explanation sounds reasonable and it sounds as if went beyond the call of duty to do the right thing. I have responded to Kimberly Kay asking her what is her interest in this and her motivation.

I am please that none of Hartline's opponents tried to make hay out of these allegation. If any candidate has anything damaging or controversial in their past it is better that it be exposed now than in the general election, should that person win the nomination. I commend Hartline for addressing this head-on and early. Case closed.

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