MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The attorney for Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford, Jr., said his client never used his position to turn a profit.
Ford is under criminal investigation now after a county investigation found he violated the ethics code.
A 3-page letter from Ford’s attorney, Allan Wade, to the chairman of the Shelby County Commission said Ford’s accusers are “going off half-cocked without all the true and admissible evidence.”
A special counsel report to the Shelby County attorney said Ford violated the county’s code of ethics by failing to reveal he was selling computers to Junior Achievement in 2019, the same year the commission awarded JA a $450,000 grant. Ford left the room during the vote but did not recuse himself.
Wade’s letter said the ethics investigation is a political ploy by Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris to remove Ford as chair of the budget committee.
A spokesperson for Harris told WMC Action News 5:
”Mayor Harris has never had any conversations nor has he met with the special counsel hired to investigate an alleged quid pro quo against Commissioner Ford. Furthermore, Mayor Harris was not involved in any way in the decision to hire the special counsel. These are only allegations and everyone, including Mr. Ford, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The Mayor plans to stay mission-focused on the work ahead, which includes advancing a series of ethical reforms that were already in the works, but that now seem even more urgent.”
Wade’s letter went on to say:
“We are investigating the propriety of Mayor Harris using the power of his office to attack his political adversaries. Commissioner Ford may have a defamation claim against Mayor Harris’ special counsel, but that is to be expected as incompetence is a hallmark of Mayor Harris’ administration.”
Ford declined to comment for this story.
Wade’s letter in full: