FBI source not to be found

The man who helped the FBI sting John Ford and six others involved in a public corruption scandal was nowhere to be found Monday night.

The man's name is Timothy Willis and sources say he escorted undercover FBI agents through the back hallways of government, helping snare former state senators John Ford and Roscoe Dixon, current senators Kathryn Bowers and Ward Crutchfield, state representative Chris Newton and two others.

"I don't think he would show his face here anytime soon, " said Memphis attorney Javier Bailey, who has been good friends with Tim Willis since the nineties, when the two worked together on the Joe Ford for Mayor campaign.

When Willis got married, it was Bailey who performed the service.

But with Willis looking very much like an FBI informant, Javier Bailey's opinion has changed.

"I think it's very sad that someone who has enjoyed the fruits of those kinds of friendships would now be the conduit by which those people are destroyed," he said.

Sources say it was Tim Willis, a Ford-family confidante and local lobbyist who introduced the FBI-dummy company E-Cycle to officials in City, County and State Government.

And it was Willis' work that appears to have led to the seven indictments so far laid out in the federal sting.

Willis has apparently left the Memphis area. But Bailey met with him two weeks ago. He says there was no indication that anything was afoot.

But he says their group of friends have wondered for years how Willis - who had served a four-month jail stint for credit card fraud in 2002 - had been making ends meet.

"He had just gotten out of jail and he was living quite well for somebody who had been out of work for a year. That's not very easy to do," he said.