Pressure for Tennessee lobbyist to resign

Most of his colleagues on the Hamilton County Board of Education think Charles Love, indicted in the Tennessee Waltz federal bribery sting, should resign.

Love, who works as a lobbyist, was one of seven people arrested in the federal corruption investigation in May. In court papers filed this week, he revealed his intention to plead guilty in the case.

Love also is a member of the Hamilton County school board and four members this week told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he should step down. Board Chairman Chip Baker declined to comment but has previously said Love should resign.

"I think that Charles evidently knows he's guilty, and he should do the right thing," board member Rhonda Thurman said. "He shouldn't make the school board do anything. He should resign."

Interim school board lawyer Scott Bennett said a member cannot be removed from office by his colleagues and forfeits the seat only after being convicted of a crime and sentenced.

Board member Marty Puryear said the board could formally ask Love to resign.

Board member Everett Fairchild said Love's decision to plead guilty has changed his position.

"Until he was proven guilty, I was willing to let things play out," he said. "But if he intends to plead guilty, I think he should resign."

Board member Debbie Colburn also said Love should resign.

Only board member Debra Matthews told the newspaper she supported Love staying on the board.

"I think we should let the process play itself out," she said.

Board members Janice Boydston and Joe Conner declined to comment.

Love is charged with helping funnel bribes from a fake company set up by the FBI to state Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga and state Rep. Chris Newton, R-Cleveland. Both lawmakers have said they are innocent and have said they will not resign from the Legislature.