Herenton denies influence from developers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton denies influence from developers

After a series of newspaper reports detailing gifts from a prominent developer to city council members, the subject turned Thursday to Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

The Mayor said there is nothing to hide. Thursday night,at the Le Chardonnay restaurant on Overton Square, he attended a fundraiser in his honor sponsored by developers Kevin Hyneman and his brother Rusty.

Rusty Hyneman has been the subject of a series of reports by the Commercial Appeal detailing various gifts and financial favors to council members.

"The Hyneman brothers have been supporters of our administration, I think ever since I've been in politics, (and) they've always been honorable," Herenton said. "They've never tried to exert any undue influence on our administration."

But without influence, why throw the mayor a fund raising party?

"They support me because of what I contribute to this city," Herenton said.

A list of reported favors to several city council members has caused a stir in recent weeks. The mayor said it hurts public perception, but its not his place to criticize.

"It doesn't help the body politic of those who are elected," he said. "But I'm not making judgments. I can only be accountable for Willie Herenton"

As state lawmakers have turned to ethics panels amid their own crisis, the mayor says local laws are clear.

"I think they are abundantly clear as to what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for elected officials," Herenton said.

Mayor Herenton said he has at times asked the opinion of the city attorney to make sure he did not have a conflict of interest. Rusty Hyneman and his attorney were not available for comment Thursday.

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