Exclusive interview with District Attorney General Gibson
about why he called the TBI off Court Clerk Lewis Coomer
News item:
Gibson blocked TBI probe of Lewis Coomer's 'jailer's fee'
of The Putnam Pit staff
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - District Attorney General William Gibson's office called off an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation into allegations that Court Clerk Lewis Coomer illegally charged thousands of dollars in 'jailer's fees' to state prisoners housed in Putnam County jail.
Coomer charged the fees at least four years before the 1995 legislature authorized that $18 a day could be levied by counties to the prisoners themselves. This fee was charged in addition to reimbursement from the state for the cost of housing the prisoners.
One day after Deputy TBI Director Rob Reeves said he would look into The Putnam Pit's information on the subject, Reeves said that Gibson's office reassured' him that the matter was civil, not criminal.

The TBI cannot investigate over the objections of the district attorney.
During this same period, Democrat Gibson authorized a TBI probe of the Putnam County's Republican property assessor Byron Looper.
On Oct. 20, two Putnam Pit staffers went through more than 17 years' of county records and found no record of any action by the county authorizing such charges.
In 1992 Ronnie King was charged $3,600 in jail fees. In April of 1996, after King allegedly complained, Coomer credited  3,600 to clear King's outstanding balance.
Putnam Pit editor
The Pit: How about an interview on Lewis Coomer's theft of money from prisoners?

Gibson: No.

The Pit: Don't you think the people have a right to know the truth?

Gibson: I have a right not to comment.

The Pit: Why did you call the TBI off the investigation?

Gibson: No comment.
The Pit:  Why don't you just give me an interview and answer the questions?

Gibson: Not with you.

The Pit: Why not?

Gibson: You're not objective.

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