Is Cookeville City Attorney
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.