Tuesday, September 12, 2006

GOP Senate Hopeful Gets Unwanted October Surprise?

By Justin Rood - September 11, 2006, 12:07 PM

In Tennessee, a new development in a three-year-old lawsuit may force new revelations out of the state's GOP Senate candidate, just weeks before the November election.

A judge today required Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker to testify and provide documents in response to a subpoena from a group of environmental activists with Democratic ties, who have filed suit over the former Chattanooga mayor's involvement in a questionable land development deal. Typically, such documents and testimony are public.

The judge ordered the information shared on Oct. 20 -- just three weeks before Tennessee voters are to decide whether he or Democrat Harold Ford Jr. will represent them in Congress. The two candidates are in a statistical dead heat, according to a new Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll.

The flap: Corker, a millionaire developer with a yen for public office, had a hand in two sides of a three-way deal to develop a Wal-Mart "supercenter" in the town of Chattanooga. His company sold land to the developers of the site -- and as mayor, his city administration allowed environmental concerns to be pushed aside in favor of the development.

Corker has tried -- and failed -- to get the case dismissed. His lawyers convinced a judge to seal certain records in the case which pertain to trade secrets or confidential financial information.

About three weeks ago, the plaintiffs subpoenaed Corker to testify and provide documents. His lawyers tried to quash the subpoena, but today a judge in Hamilton County, Tenn. refused the request.

Corker's lawyers had argued that he should be excused from testifying because he was running for office. The plaintiff's subpoena, they said, was both "unreasonable" and "oppressive."

No comments: