Mayor, county commissioners signed David Thompson's petition before he ended his re-election bid
By Nate Morabito, Investigative Reporter - bio | email
GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) -
Despite sexual harassment allegations against Greene County Clerk David Thompson, several high level public officials signed his petition to run for re-election.
Thompson, who withdrew his name from the upcoming county clerk race Thursday, has remained the subject of a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sexual harassment and discrimination investigation since last summer.
Earlier this month, the attorney hired to represent the county filed an ouster suit against Thompson after telling commissioners Thompson's affidavits revealed he admitted to relationships with employees and sexual acts in his office.
Thompson's qualifying petition, obtained by News Channel 11, reveals several high ranking public officials nominated him to run prior to that information becoming public. However, those people signed their names well after six women came forward accusing Thompson of sexual harassment.
Most of the officials say people should not read too much into their decisions to sign Thompson's petition.
Greene County Mayor Alan Broyles signed Thompson's petition to run. He also signed Thompson's wife's petition for county clerk, saying he's never turned anyone away.
"I sign every one," Mayor Broyles said. "To not sign a petition is saying that person does not have a right to run for office."
Greene County Commissioners Hilton Seay and Robert Bird echoed those thoughts, standing behind their decisions to sign Thompson's petition despite the ongoing questions about him.
"Why would I not sign it?" Seay asked. "David had that petition a long while ago. David's been in office for almost eight years and David's a good friend. All of the information that is out now, I was not privy to and I had no reason not to sign it. I would sign it again. Let the voters decide. I signed it then and I would sign it again, because nothing's been decided on it. It's still an open case."
"I signed his petition because he has the right to be a candidate as do others," Bird said. "I still think he has the right. Give the people a choice. I have no problem with the people deciding who they want to be the county clerk."
Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns, who also signed Thompson's petition, says he signs several petitions during an election year.
"That is something many of us do out of courtesy just as I have others sign mine," the sheriff said.
Two other county commissioners' signatures appear on the petition. However, both Nathan Holt and Wade McAmis said based on the latest information that's surfaced in recent weeks, if asked today to sign the petition their decisions would be different.
"Knowing what I know now, the facts, what I know now, no I would not (sign the petition)," Holt said.
"There wasn't near as much information then," McAmis said about the time period he signed the petition. "I think it's a very different situation today with an ouster suit against him. I'd have to look at it a lot different. I don't think I could have (signed it) now."
Thompson's petition also includes the signature of his wife. In fact, Becky Thompson was the first person to sign the piece of paper. Thompson says she signed the petition well before she learned of Thompson's written statements admitting an affair.
"I supported him based on everything I believed," Becky Thompson said. "I believed he was innocent. The public knew before I did about that written statement. I did not believe my husband was capable of the things he's accused of. David and I have had a really good marriage. He was forced to admit those things to me and I was devastated."
Thompson says she and her husband are still living together since they have a son to consider.