How much can they give away before the election?

Putnam County Court Clerk Lewis Coomer is defending an individual federal civil rights suit with county money

Rader, McBroom refuse public access for inspection of
county financial records relating to Coomer's defense

Rader: 'Never ask again, about this or anything else, by phone or in writing'

Putnam Pit editor
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. [April 18, 1998] -- Lawyer Daniel Rader III this week acknowledged that Putnam County taxpayers are footing the bill to defend his client, Circuit Court Clerk Lewis Coomer, in a federal civil rights case in which Coomer is being sued in his individual capacity.

"Mr. Coomer is covered by the self-insurance plan afforded by Putnam County regarding the allegations made in this suit," Rader told The Putnam Pit in a letter dated March 24, 1998.

But in a terse and angry response to a request to inspect the county's records of payments to defend Coomer, Rader stated that "[i]n as much as that is an ongoing legal matter, it is not subject to the open records act."

Michael Chambers filed suit against Coomer, individually and in his official capacity, and District Attorney General William E. Gibson, in his official capacity, alleging that the two conspired in 1996 to prevent his release from custody despite an order from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

In December 1997, Federal District Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. dismissed the cases against Gibson and Coomer in their official capacities but allowed Chambers to pursue his case against Coomer in his individual capacity.

Although Rader is in possession of the financial records of the County's payments to the self-insurance progam for Coomer's defense and is at the same time recipient of the money paid out for the defense of Coomer, Rader insisted that he never again be contacted about this matter by The Putnam Pit.

County Executive Doug McBroom also refused to provide access to the financial records, which in no way deal with strategy or facts of the case itself.

More to come. 

Coomer has his tickets fixed

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