Coomer 'too busy' to show records of money stolen by his office

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 27, 1999) -- Putnam County Circuit Court Clerk Lewis Coomer said on Friday that he no longer has records showing who was made to pay illegal jailer's fees.

Coomer's office tacked on thousands of dollars to some inmates' fees and costs years before the state legislature passed a law authorizing counties to make those felony inmates with money serving time in local jails pay their keep while incarcerated. 

When asked to inspect the public records of income for the years in question, Coomer replied: "I'm busy."

Coomer, who acquired massive real estate holdings during his tenure as $50,000-a-year court clerk, was reportedly visited by the FBI recently in an unrelated ticket-fixing probe.

District Attorney General William Gibson, who allegedly shook down poker-machine owners in Cumberland County for donations to his Economic Crime Fund using false testimony from his paid informants, blocked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation from investigating the thefts.

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