Resignation unlikely to affect any investigation of Herenton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Resignation unlikely to affect any investigation of Herenton

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - During Thursday's news conference announcing his pending resignation, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton refused to elaborate on being the target of a federal probe.

"I don't have any comment," Herenton said. "Don't know anything about it

But as we've reported, Herenton, in his role as mayor, pushed for the redevelopment of the Downtown Greyhound bus station property. Meanwhile, his real estate company privately held an option to buy the land.

The mayor eventually made some $91,000 dollars on the deal.  Several of his colleagues in and out of city hall have been subpoenaed, and former U.S. Attorney Hickman Ewing says the mayor's resignation should have no impact on the status of such an investigation. 

"I would assume if they have a case that meets all the federal guidelines, they'll charge him," Ewing said Friday. "If they don't, they'll decline."

While he doubts a deal with the mayor was struck, Ewing admits getting a target out of office may be the priority of prosecutors.

"Because, theoretically, whatever they've done in the past they can't do in the future," he said.

If indicted while in office, Herenton would lose his hefty city pension.  Resigning means that pension is protected.

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