Schools to keep firm, but Webb's son no longer on account - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Schools to keep firm, but Webb's son no longer on account

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - As Shelby County students prepare for Thanksgiving break, some are wondering what kind of breaks occurred when Doctor Bobby Webb's son, Corum Webb, lobbied the superintendent to hire his law firm to represent the Coalition of School Districts, including Shelby County.

Corum Web is a lobbyist for Farris Mathews, one of the largest and most respected law firms in the state.  Farris Matthews does work for a coalition representing the state's five largest school districts, including Memphis City and Shelby County.

"Superintendent Webb should have disclosed the relationship with his son to the other members of the coalition and to other members of the county board," Tennessee State Rep. Brian Kelsey of Germantown said Monday.  
Kelsey insisted everyone in the Coalition of School Districts should have known the relationship of Corum Webb and his father.

"Superintendent Webb's son is a lawyer and a lobbyist at the firm, but he is a very small cog in a large wheel in a firm that's been around for years and years," he said.
Shelby County school leaders insist the coalition members knew about the relationship in the past, but this year the relationship mistakenly wasn't revealed to new members.

"I think there was an error of omission," Shelby County School board member David Pickler said.

Monday, Pickler said, he and others on the Coalition asked that Webb's son work on issues unrelated to the Coalition of School Districts.

"To avoid any kind of indication of impropriety any of issue of something that could mar or in anyway dilute the power of our message that we did choose to eliminate even any possibility of conflict," he said.    

The Coalition of School Districts voted to retain the law firm Farris Matthews, keeping Dr. Bobby Webb as co-chair over the entire coalition.

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