Lawyers investigate Gibson's role

DA's name raises questions in “pyramid” scheme


Editor of The Putnam Pit

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (April 21, 2003) – When Robert Clark went to his mailbox late last month and saw “Bill Gibson” as the sender of the white envelope, “I recognized his name as the district attorney general and thought it was going to be a jury summons notice or something,” the 34-year-old former Army fuel systems and aircraft maintenance sergeant recalled.


Sgt.  Clark in Korea, 1991

Although Gibson’s home address was listed and his office wasn’t mentioned on the envelope, “If his name had not been on it I never would have opened it,” Clark, now a TTU student, tells The Putnam Pit.

 The mailing, which The Putnam Pit posted online at, turned out to be an endorsement for what appears to be a pyramid scheme in which participants are encouraged to “join” and “increase” their “commission” by getting others to join.


In the ad, recipients are encouraged to visit a Web site with further details, or  “call me at 528-2338 at home[.]” When Clark realized he had been duped by Gibson’s name into opening junk mail, “I was so mad, I didn’t want to give him the pleasure of going to the Web site.”


When The Pit tried to reach the number, a computer-generated voice asked us to leave a call-back number, which we did but there was no return call.


Wondering whether it was the same Bill Gibson and whether the address was really his, Clark said he ran the DA’s name at the state Comptroller’s Real Estate Data Web site, and found it matched the return address on the envelope. Clark is not alone in his disdain for the DA’s name being used to promote an unrelated Web site.

Political cartoonist c.d. "Sonny Boy" norman, who attended high school in Cookeville with Gibson, asks, "Why doesn't he just go out into the street and beg?"

Hmmm. What's this little bugger dong up here?
How c.d. 'Sonny Boy' norman
 sees schoolmate, DA Bill Gibson


Meanwhile, a local attorney employed by a governmental agency says he and several other lawyers are investigating whether the words  used in the mailing use the office of the District Attorney General to promote a private enterprise: “My name is Bill Gibson. I serve this area as District Attorney and I live here in Cookeville.  Like most people these days I spend some time online and I see all the schemes, scams and rip offs. Occasionally I also find something worthwhile, something worth a second look, and worth passing along.”


Does this look like an official endorsement of the site?


“We’re still looking into it,” the lawyer said. “We don’t know what we’ll do until we finish looking into it.”


The lawyer went on to recall previous indiscretions by Gibson, including using public money to pay his staff’s professional taxes and diverting his crime fund to painting a very large sign – at an inflated cost – on a rented building he moved out of shortly thereafter.


“Just when you think he can’t do anything more dumb, he does it,” the lawyer said.