Wharton ignores rumors, responds to Herenton comments - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton ignores rumors, responds to Herenton comments

A C Wharton A C Wharton

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton has a lot riding on whether Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton makes good on his plans to resign.  Wharton wants the top job at City Hall, but can't really fight for it until Herenton makes his resignation official.

Thursday, Wharton said he plans to use his track record as Shelby County mayor to campaign for mayor of Memphis.

"The best way to campaign is just do a good job," Wharton said.

But is Wharton rattled over speculation that Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton might retract his resignation for a second time?

"You gotta keep your sense of calm, and if you start jumping every time you hear a rumor, you won't have time to stay on focus on what you're trying to do," he said.

While Wharton does not want to devote his attention to the rumor mill, he did issue a cryptic comeback to fellow attorneys.

"If members of my profession continue to make unfounded statements which are just flat out untrue, they're doing so at their own peril," he said.

Wharton didn't say whether or not he was referring to attorney Carol Chumney.  Last month, Chumney called for an outside prosecutor to investigate the issue of a county employee taking Wharton's personal car in for an inspection. 

Wharton has asked the county attorney to investigate the matter.

"I'm not at all troubled by that, even without going into the report, I'm not at all troubled by that because the truth will soon come out," he said.

In the meantime, Wharton said he's never let speculation distract him during a campaign and he's not going to start now.  But the question remains, will the job really be up for grabs next week? 

The 2007 Dinner

Earlier this week, Mayor Willie Herenton described his frustrations with A C Wharton's city mayoral aspirations back in 2007.

"Felt he should not have flirted with that," Herenton said in an interview with the Memphis Flyer's Jackson Baker. "That was a character flaw. I resented it. I felt he should not have entertained that for a minute."

Herenton shared those frustrations with Wharton during their infamous dinner meeting at meeting at a Midtown restaurant almost two years ago.  His interview exposed one side of a conversation that has been a secret until now.

It may be the only side of the conversation anyone ever hears.

"I'm not gonna rehash that," Wharton said Thursday. "He has his way of describing things, and I have mine."

Wharton said he was prepared to honor his vow of silence. 

"I'll take it to my grave, and that's why I kept those secrets in violate, and I would have kept them that way, but he's free to describe things as he wishes," Wharton said.

But Herenton might have done Wharton a favor by spilling the beans.  It finally answers the question: Did Herenton tell him not to run in exchange for Herenton's support after an early retirement?

"There was absolutely no discussion of a deal," Wharton said. "Nothing near that."

When asked if he and Herenton still have a good relationship, Wharton said yes, but did not say whether he and the city mayor have shared any dialogue over dinner as of late.

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AUDIO: Jackson Baker interviews Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

Source: Jackson Baker

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