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County Commissioners Roland, Taylor Spar over Ethics

Two Shelby County Commissioners are pointing fingers at each other about ethics. Terry Roland is on one side, and Brent Taylor is on the other.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Two Shelby County Commissioners are pointing fingers at each other about ethics. Terry Roland is on one side, and Brent Taylor is on the other.

Toss in possible ties to an Islamic preacher from Turkey and charter schools, and you have the makings of a cornucopia of charges, counter charges, allegations and anger.

In other words, it's just another day in Shelby County politics.

Brent Taylor was chosen by commissioners to fill out the term of Mike Carpenter last year. Commissioner Terry Roland says Taylor didn't tell anybody that he was chosen to be on the board of Willie Herenton's W.E.B. Du Bois Consortium of Charter Schools. Taylor says he didn't write it down because at the time there was no board because there were no schools.

The man from Millington is concerned about alleged Islamic ties into charter schools. Terry Roland wants to know if former mayor Willie Herenton is working with a Texas group that has had its share of controversies over possibly being a part of an Islamic preacher's plan to expand into the U.S. the former mayor says there is no working relationship, by the way.

"I'm not against charter schools if they're done right," Roland said.

Something also got into Terry Roland's craw, and it involves fellow Commissioner Brent Taylor. Roland says when Taylor was named to the commission, he didn't mention that he was a member of the board with the Herenton charter school group.

"And this goes back to Commissioner Taylor," Roland said, "I would not have voted for him if I knew he was on this board, and he probably would not have been elected."

Roland, in fact, asked for an ethics investigation.

"My daddy always told me character was everything."

Commissioner Taylor says he was asked to be a member of the Herenton charter school board about a year ago. The permits for the schools weren't approved until last week.

Taylor said, "The board has never met because it only came into existence last Tuesday."

Now remember what Terry Roland's daddy said about character. Roland said that at a 10:30 a m. news conference. One hour and 45 minutes earlier, the ethics investigation against Taylor ended and found Taylor did nothing wrong.

"Roland has that information at 8:45 exonerating me, and proceeds to have that press conference for no other purpose but to mislead the media trying to cast doubts on my veracity," Taylor said.

There has been bad blood between Brent Taylor and Terry Roland for a long time. This is just the latest case.

Roland says he will continue trying to learn more information about Taylor, and says he will forward all information to the District Attorney's office.

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