Herenton defends his character

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton says he's determined to defend his character.

The mayor rallied key administrators Friday, signaling he's ready to fight a federal investigation into no-bid contracts with several companies that did business with the city.

"This morning I called the city's key administrators together, some past and present, to let them know personally that I will defend the ethics and integrity with which I have led this city," Herenton said in a statement.

"These city leaders know first-hand the honest and openness which I have overseen the administration of this government for 17 years. I am honored to have this team by my side and I am supported by their honesty and ethics."

The mayor didn't specifically mention the federal probe into dealings with his friend Elvin Moon, who owns a company that's won more than $700,000 in non-competitive city contracts.
Herenton's private real estate firm sold a lot to Moon for $50,000 a few years ago. Then Moon sold that lot back to Herenton for just $10.

But the mayor maintains he's done nothing wrong.

Federal investigators are also looking into the city's plan to move the Greyhound bus station out of the Downtown area.

Herenton declined an interview Friday.

But during a city hall retreat last weekend, he unexpectedly brought up the contracts in question.
"The contracts flow through a number of executives before it reaches the mayor's desk," Herenton said.

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