Sunday, May 6, 2018

Carol Swain, Candidate for Mayor, Calls for Immediate Resignation of Metro COO Rich!Riebeling

Carol Swain
By Rod Williams - Candidate for mayor Carol Swain yesterday called for the immediate resignation of Metro Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebleling. She issued the following statement:
The voters of Davidson County are tired of broken promises, underfunded schools, and cronyism that rewards those at the top. For too long Metro government has been squandering the taxpayer funds of hard working Nashvillians. Today’s revelation of the misappropriation of federal HUD flood relief funds is just another example of the corruption that is plaguing City Hall and the rest of the Metropolitan government. As finance director of the city Riebeling was either complicit in this act or ignorant of it. He can delegate authority, but he cannot delegate responsibility.

Today, I am calling for the immediate resignation and investigation into the dealings of Metro Chief Operations Officer Rich Riebeling. Under Riebeling’s management the city has awarded no bid bond contracts to his son, misappropriated funds at the fairgrounds and given away free office space to his developer friend Larry Atema. Riebeling has said he’s “committed to doing what’s right for the city,” but it is clear that this is not the case. When asked about Riebeling’s place in his administration, Mayor Briley has said he is “committed to continuity.” This statement is a damning indictment of his ability to lead the city forward.
Rich Riebeling
The most recent Riebeling scandal involved the use $7.4 million of federal Disaster Recovery Fund money going towards riverfront development instead of being used to assist homeowners who were flooded out of their homes. Following the 2010 flood, Nashville got $33 million for flood recovery. The $7.4 million diverted from flood recovery went to build the Ascend Amphitheater, a downtown concert venue at Riverfront Park.

At the time of the flood, I was working as a HUD-approved housing counselor with a non-profit housing counseling agency and encountered numerous people who lost their home or had to declare bankruptcy or spend their life savings or went deeply in debt because of the flood. It ruined peoples lives and to think that money was diverted to other purposes other than the purpose for which it was intended especially angers me.  In a Channel 2 news report, members of the Metro Council say they were unaware of the redirection of Disaster Recovery Funds.

It is time for Rich Riebeling to be fired or forced to resign. I appreciate Carol Swain for calling for his resignation. This type of using public funds as your own slush fund needs to stop. Cronyism and misuse of public funds needs to stop.  Rich Riebeling is probably no worse than many others in similar positions elsewhere. Actually, Nashville is probably less corrupt and mismanaged than cities like Chicago and New Orleans but because we are not the worst does not mean our level of mismanagement and corruption is tolerable. I just assume a very large chuck of all tax money is wasted or misspend, but it should not be that way. We should not just accept that a large portion of public money is misspent. I think there needs to be an investigation of the $60 millions spend to build 3.5 miles of sidewalks, but no one seems to care. That should generate outrage. It is time to drain the Nashville swamp and Rich Riebeling would be a good place to start!

Below is the News Channel 4 report of this story:

WSMV News 4

For more on the unauthorized spending of money for the soccer stadium, see this Channel 4 story: Metro official apologizes for spending $135K on stadium without permission.

For more on the $511,000 sweetheart deal with Larry Atema for consulting services, see this story: Fairgrounds consultant paid $511,000 in management fees.

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