East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert said Friday afternoon during a press conference at the Hamilton County Courthouse that he will release copies of an audio tape of Commissioner Tim Boyd threatening him during telephone conversations in February.
Lambert said the audio tapes may be made available during a noon press conference at the East Ridge Community Center on Monday, April 16.
“I’m hopeful to have the complete, unedited phone conversation with Mr. Boyd,” Lambert said.
A Hamilton County Grand Jury indicted Boyd early this week on one count of Extortion. The indictment centers on two telephone conversation Boyd had with Lambert in mid and late February. Lambert recorded the conversations in which he believed Boyd threatened him, his career and his family by saying that he (Boyd) had damaging information that would come out during the course of the campaign.
Lambert is seeking to unseat Boyd from his District 8 County Commission seat in the May 1 Republican Primary. Lambert made an unsuccessful bid to do the same in 2014.
According to Lambert, on Feb. 15, Allen McCallie, the attorney for the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, where Lambert is Chief Operating Officer, reached out to Lambert saying that he had been contacted by another attorney saying that Boyd wanted Lambert to drop out of the race. McCallie urged Lambert to contact Boyd, which he did the following morning.
“When I called him, he told me that some of his political team had some information that was really bad,” Lambert said. “He said that his team wanted to go public with the information, but Boyd himself said he would rather me, Brent Lambert, pull out of the race.”
Lambert said during the conversation he asked Boyd, “what do you want me to do?”
“”Tim Boyd said, ‘I would prefer you drop out of the race and everything goes away,'” Lambert said at the press conference. “Otherwise, I go to the media, the Chattanoogan.com, the newspaper, social media, I’ll do mailers.”
Lambert, whose personal attorney is former East Ridge City Attorney John Anderson, did not respond to a question as to how long the conversations lasted.
In a call the following week, Lambert said that Boyd had derided the “me too” movement.
“As a father of a daughter, that appalled me, that he would be so insensitive about that,” Lambert said.
Lambert said there were other things in the calls that were said by Boyd that would be revealed in the tape.
Boyd said that he welcomed the release of the tape.
“We all look forward to hearing the tape in context,” Boyd said. “I am, and I know my legal team will. Court assures the truth will come out. Meanwhile, we have an election to win,”
Boyd maintains that Lambert’s commission campaign is payback for Boyd having gone after the Convention and Visitors Bureau for having lax accountability on it being financed with $8 million of taxpayer funds courtesy of the Hamilton County hotel/motel tax.
The compromising information against Lambert was the fact that Exit 1 developers contributed thousands of dollars to Lambert’s campaign coffers in June 2017, when Lambert was not running for office. The campaign contributions came less than two weeks after the City of East Ridge secured millions of dollars in financing for the reconfiguration of Exit 1 on Interstate 75 that drives automobile traffic directly into the Jordan Crossing development.
Lambert used the money to partially pay himself back for a loan he gave to his 2014 mayoral campaign in East Ridge, Hamilton County Election Commission records show.