Councilmember seeks smoking gun in Mayoral inquiry

In a letter obtained by Action News Five, Councilwoman Carol Chumney lays it all out.  "I've just heard that there were tape recordings that concern the Memphis Light Gas and Water bond transaction," she says.

She writes that if it's true that former MLGW President Herman Morris made tapes and that if he has them, "the Council should hear any such tape recordings if they exist."

The City Council is currently in the process of firing questions at Morris, at Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and others involved in a massive $1.5 billion bond deal to buy power.

Councilmembers are trying to find out if Herenton steered some of that business to friends of campaign contributors.  For weeks, City Hall has buzzed with talk of tapes, recordings, possibly made by Herman Morris about the deal.

We tried to reach Herman Morris today at his home, but he wasn't there and didn't return my phone messages.

Chumney says if there are tapes, the Council has subpoena power and can technically, demand them.

"If somebody doesn't comply with the questions or with the requests, then the next step is for the Council to issue a subpoena and certainly I would recommend that they do that if there's no legitimate reason for not giving the council the information," she says.

She says her main interest is protecting future similar bond deals from the appearance of wrongdoing.

We spoke with City Councilman Tom Marshall tonight. He is heading up the committee conducting this inquiry. He says the deadline for submitting new questions was last week, but that he will forward Chumney's request to Herman Morris. Answers may be available as soon as next week.