Ear to the Ground

The weirdest news of the week is Chris Cawood picking up a petition to run against his sister-in-law Sharon Cawood for County Commission seat 6A.

Sharon Cawood was appointed to the seat in January to replace her husband Mark, who was term-limited. Chris and Mark are brothers.

Chris Cawood has been in the news before. He is a former legislator and the author of eight booksâ"including a tell-all called Sex, Lies and Videotape involving his affair with a divorce client in his Roane County law practice. A videotape surfaced and the sheriffâ’s department was accused of playing it for the entertainment of the courthouse. Cawood sued for invasion of privacy and, after seven years, an appeals court cited the sheriffâ’s officers for â“outrageous conduct.â” The paperback is available on Amazon.com and you can read the first chapter, which contains a description of the bra-less client with the perky nipplesâ’ first visit to the attorneyâ’s office.

Two well-known names have surfaced in a crowded field for County Commission seats in this Februaryâ’s primary.

John Emison, longtime head of Citizens for Home Rule, an anti-annexation group, is expected to run for the Fifth District seat now held by Frank Leuthold. Leuthold was appointed to the deep West Knox County seat in January but has said he will not seek election.

Emison is expected to call for a ban on County Commissioners working for county government and call for a reduction of Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdaleâ’s staff.

Finbarr Saunders, a long time Bearden resident and an active member of community groups and various city task forces, is running for County Commission for seat 4A. It is the seat with the most candidates at the moment.

The seat is presently being held by Richard Cate, who also was appointed Jan. 31. Other Republicans who have named treasurers in preparation to run against Cate include Ruthie Kuhlman, Williams Daniels, and Walter Wojnar.

Elaine Davis is running as a Democrat. Saunders, who has been having a series of meetings with friends and supporters, is also running as a Democrat.

The UT Athletic department has been anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. The community was rocked this past year by the rumor, finally confirmed, that womenâ’s basketball coach Pat Summitt and her husband R.B. were getting a divorce.

Menâ’s coach Bruce Pearl and his wife Kim have been separated since he returned from a European trip with his team. The legal community grapevine had Pearl hiring big-time divorce attorney Bernie Bernstein, who confirms that his firm, Bernstein, Stair & McAdams, is representing the coach.

Pearl finally confirmed this week that the couple is getting a divorce due to irreconcilable differences. They have four children.

The Democrats are questioning Knox County Commission Chair Scott Mooreâ’s campaign finances. Democratic Party Chair Don Daugherty says Moore filed his treasurerâ’s report with the Election Commission the morning an ad ran in the Shopper News promoting his run for County Clerk. Moore also had an ad in a Republican Party program six months earlier.

Campaign rules call for a treasurer to be named to the Election Commission before any campaign funds are expended.

The Shopper ad carries a notation â“Paid for by Bill Phillipsâ” but contains the Moore campaignâ’s logo indicating a coordinated effort, says Daugherty.

Diana Hall was a long-time assistant to Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe. Friends threw her a going away party last weekendâ"she is going to Poland to work for now-Ambassador Ashe through the rest of his service.

Ashe had planned to leave his post this past summer, but President Bush asked him to stay on for the rest of the presidential term of office. An Ambassador is allowed to hire one person for his personal staff; the rest of the embassy is composed of career State Department employees.

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