Arrest warrant issued for ailing Memphis councilwoman

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Barbara Swearengen Ware has been on the Memphis City Council for 16 years.  She now faces suspension from the council if and when she is arrested.

"There is a warrant," said Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chip Washington.  "And the charge is official misconduct."

Washington said Ware will likely not be arrested until she is released from Methodist University Hospital, where the councilwoman is being treated for an undisclosed illness.   

"As soon as our detectives are able to do so," said Washington, "they will follow through with their duties."

The warrant reportedly follows a felony indictment by a state grand jury which continues to probe practices at the Shelby County Clerk's Office.

Ware was implicated last year when three workers were accused of taking bribes from the councilwoman in exchange for waiving her vehicle inspection.

Ware denied any wrongdoing during a news conference she called in the wake of the initial allegations.

"I want to emphatically and unambiguously state that I have never bribed anyone," said Ware in May 2009.

Ware could face up to two years in prison if convicted of official misconduct.

Her husband told Action News 5 he had no comment when reached by phone in Ware's hospital room.

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