Organizer responds to criticism of Fullilove fundraiser - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Organizer responds to criticism of Fullilove fundraiser

Janis Fullilove Janis Fullilove

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An embattled Memphis City Council member raised eyebrows when she began advertising an upcoming fundraiser on her Facebook page just days after being indicted.

In an interview Tuesday, Gloria Watkins said Memphis City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove has every right to hold a fundraiser.  In fact, over 100 invitations have already been sent.

"This has been in the planning maybe a year or so," she said.

Watkins began working on campaigns for Congressman Harold Ford, Senior back in 1978.  Now, she books Fullilove's campaign events, including an upcoming fundraiser that came under media scrutiny.

"With the indictment coming down, well we didn't have a clue, so it wouldn't have made sense for us to stop our plans because of some misdemeanor," she said.

The fundraiser came to Action News 5's attention after Fullilove posted a solicitation on her Facebook page days after a grand jury indicted her.  Investigators say Fullilove lied to get a Tennessee driver's license after Mississippi revoked her license for a DUI.

"Were we supposed to say 'Okay, this came, up let's cancel this,' when we had a gentleman nice enough to give us that date?  Not many people are going to give up a night of money.  Let's get real." Watkins said.

Watkins added that she encouraged Fullilove to raise funds shortly after she won her seat back in 2008.  Checks at the upcoming fundraiser will go to Fullilove's election campaign.

"Oh yes, if you make out a check, you'll make it out to The Friends of Janis Fullilove," Watkins said.

Watkins said elected officials hold fundraisers all the time, and media scrutiny won't put a blip in her plans.

"If a person goes through changes in life and they're able to maintain their obligations to their career, then that's an upside to me, and you don't let negative things stop you from what you're supposed to do," she said.

Watkins said no media outlets reported when Fullilove raised money for children who needed food and clothing.

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