Love Removed As Chairman Of School Facilities Committee

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Hamilton County School Board Chairman Chip Baker has removed Charles Love as chairman of the Board’s facilities committee "pending resolution of his current legal issues."

Mr. Baker appointed School Board Vice Chairman Marty Puryear to serve as chairman of the facilities committee, effective immediately.

Love was indicted as part of the FBI's "Tennessee Waltz" sting.

He has thus far declined to drop off the school board. He is the representative from District 5.

Also, Hamilton County school officials confirmed that a meeting was held between the school system and E-Cycle Management - the bogus firm set up by the FBI in the undercover operation. The FBI said Love acted as a "bag man" delivering money to state legislators willing to accept bribes to influence legislation.

The meeting, held approximately three months ago at the district’s Dodds Avenue facility, was confirmed after Superintendent Jesse Register instructed his staff to investigate whether or not the school system had any communications with officials from E-Cycle Management.

“The school system receives numerous business proposals each day,” Dr. Register said. “The normal process requires the vendor first to meet with a department head before the proposal is then considered by someone on my senior staff. Only after thorough review by the administration does such a proposal come before the School Board.”

The initial contact was made in July 2004 when School Board member Charles Love referred an official with E-Cycle Management to David McNish, the school system’s senior network engineer. Mr. McNish had a 45-minute phone conversation with Joe Carson, “president” of E-Cycle Management, regarding the company’s program to help public school systems with the disposal of surplus electronic products that have no value.

After this initial call, no other communication occurred until Love asked for a meeting with Leon Rash, the school system’s director of purchasing and asset management. At that meeting, Love invited John Morrow, “chief financial officer” of E-Cycle Management, to discuss how the company could help the school system dispose of its surplus electronic equipment. After this meeting, Mr. Rash had reservations about certain aspects of the program, so he did not pursue the business opportunity, officials said.

“In light of his concern, Mr. Rash took no further action to pursue this business arrangement,” said Dr. Register. “At no time did anyone from Hamilton County Schools accept an offer to conduct business with E-Cycle Management.”

School officials also concluded that all employees "acted properly and followed correct procedures when contacted by E-Cycle Management."

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