In an article published in The News on August 21, 2014, titled, “Lawsuit aims to find those responsible for The Oak Hill Gazette,” there were several statements in the article that were not correct.
We want to set the record straight for our readers and apologize to those in the article for incorrect statements The News reported. Below is a letter sent to The News by Oak Hill Commissioner, Austin McMullen, pointing out several errors in the story:
• The story states that I (Commissioner McMullen) have not updated campaign fund filings with the Davidson County Election Commission “since 2012.” In fact I have consistently updated my filings through 2014, as the Commission will confirm. Commissioner McMullen is correct; we discovered after the article had printed that the Davidson County Election Commission had not supplied The News with correct information.
• The story states that it was a “debatable move” for the city attorney to represent City Judge Tom Lawless and me in responding to subpoenas issued in a lawsuit brought by Heidi Campbell, now the Oak Hill Vice-Mayor. The story never mentions that the subpoenas requested city records, which is why it was appropriate for the city attorney to handle it.
• The story states that Key Investments II Inc., a “development company” that is “owned by “Davis Carr” recently purchased” land adjacent to a possible commercial development. All of that is incorrect. Mr. Carr, one of approximately 450 attorneys who work in the same law firm as me, is a trustee of the estate of Calvin Houghland. Key Investments II Inc. is part of the Houghland trust. The Houghland trust has owned that property and others in the area for decades as part of the Houghland family farm. As a trustee, Mr. Carr is responsible for managing the trust, but he is not an owner and has no personal financial interest in the trust, or any of its properties. The News did error and stated that Davis Carr was an owner when in fact he was the trustee for the Calvin Houghland trust.
• The story states that I told Ms. Ledbetter in 2013 that the City “had not been in discussions with commercial developers” about developing property in Oak Hill. She then wrote that emails revealed that the Oak Hill Board “agreed to meet” with Ty Hasty, a developer, in 2013. In fact, the Board never “agreed to meet” or had any meeting with Mr. Hasty.
• The story quotes unnamed residents as saying the Board tried to “sneak” in a commercial overlay. The story never mentions that for more than two years the fiscal challenges facing Oak Hill and options for overcoming them – including funding city services through a commercial development – were repeatedly presented to all residents of the City, and residents had many opportunities to share their ideas on the subject.
The News wants to apologize to Commissioner Austin McMullen. Judge Tom Lawless, Attorney Davis Carr and our readers for the errors in the story.