Shelby County GOP Representatives among those at private meeting about TN House Speaker

Local I-Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – UPDATE 5/20/2019 – 5:25 p.m.: House GOP Caucus votes they have no confidence in TN House Speaker Glen Casada 45-24.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – At a posh hotel in Nashville, House Republicans met Monday to decide the political future of their speaker, Representative Glen Casada. Earlier Monday, people protested outside the capitol calling for the speaker to resign.

The scrutiny started with revelations about his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, for lewd and racist and sexist text messages, and snorting cocaine in the capitol office. But now there are more allegations including bribes and electronic eavesdropping.

Did Shelby County Republicans attend the meeting? Staffers in Nashville confirmed to the Local I-Team three out of the four Shelby County Republican House members attended Monday’s meeting.

Democrats say it’s no surprise Republicans are being quiet on the Casada situation.  

“They are extremely quiet in regards to this issue here in Shelby County,” said State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, (D) Memphis.

Parkinson is talking about his fellow Republican legislators from Shelby County regarding the Casada situation. “The silence is deafening,” he added.

Of the four Shelby County Republicans, we are told three Representatives, Mark White, Kevin Vaughn, and Tom Leatherwood, planned to attend Monday’s meeting. None were available for an interview before the 2:30 meeting began. No one answered the phone at Rep Jim Coley’s Nashville office the half dozen times the Local I-Team called.

Records show all four did receive money from Casada’s PAC. White received $4,000, Vaughn $1,500, Leatherwood $1,000, and Coley $1,000.

Representative Parkinson doesn’t know if campaign donations is a factor, but said this is a very controversial issue with which they are dealing.

“It could be a lack of political courage, it could be a fear of repercussions within their own party,” said Parkinson.

White said he would call and talk to the Local I-Team after the meeting. So far he hasn’t called.

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