Is Cookeville City Attorney O'Mara paranoid?
Or do reporters really consider him their bitter enemy?

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 4, 2002) – Is Cookeville City Attorney T. Michael O’Mara paranoid, or are people to whom he denies public records out to get him for no reason?

The police officer investigating the 1992 murder of schoolteacher Darlene Eldridge “does not remember” the contents of the investigative file the investigator maintains, O’Mara acknowledged in rare moment of candor in a December 2000 letter to a state agency looking into whether access to certain files was denied to the press.
While O’Mara acknowledges that under his tutelage public employees funnel records he acknowledges are public through his office before they are released to the press, O’Mara asserts that reporters seeking those records see him “as a bitter enemy” who “go to any length” to cause him distress by requesting to see them.

In a letter the recipient of which cannot be revealed by this newspaper because of O’Mara’s right to confidentiality, O’Mara tediously sets up city employees whose jobs security he can indirectly influence as witnesses to his ignorance of facts regarding a murder file and the tampering with its contents.

How long will the taxpayers give this man $150,000 a year?

That’s up to them.