Election commissioner sues Nashville, Baker Donelson over tax referendum


  • Election Commission Chairman Jim DeLanis sued his former regulation agency and Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes
  • The federal match alleges poor coercion above the commission’s strategy to an anti-tax referendum
  • Metro is embroiled in ongoing — and costly — litigation with the Davidson County Election Fee.

The hottest salvo in yrs of head-butting between Metro Nashville and its very own election commission has moved to the federal amount after Davidson County Election Fee Chairman Jim DeLanis filed a lawsuit about a tangle of warring conflicts of desire. 

He is asking for $1 million because he suggests he was pressured by customers of his former law agency to back again down on a controversial anti-tax hike referendum force that pitted the commission in opposition to the city in ongoing, pricey litigation — and statements he was fired for the reason that he would not do so.

Anti-tax referendum, high-priced litigation

The flurry of again and forth lawsuits stems from a grassroots 2021 force to suppress Metro’sability to elevate taxes, an integral part of its current functionality. Metro opposes the referendum.

The Municipal Courthouse and City Hall  Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

In May, Metro Council unanimously authorized a “complete rewrite” of Report 19 of the Metro Charter — which details the method of altering the constitution through a referendum election by petition — as component of a established of four proposed revisions that will be on the ballot as early as Aug. 4 for general public vote.

The article’s former language is at the coronary heart of the battle. The revision was championed by at-significant Council member Bob Mendes, who that month explained, “Litigation fees and uncertainty connected to referendums in Nashville have gotten out of regulate.”

As a result of the approach, the Davidson County Election Fee has discovered itself at odds with Metro Nashville’s stance.

DeLanis on Wednesday submitted accommodate in opposition to Metro Nashville as nicely as Mendes individually and in his specialist capacity as a councilmember, and DeLanis’ have previous employer, legislation organization Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. 

Davidson County Election Chair Jim DeLanis

The accommodate was filed Wednesday in the the Center District of Tennessee and has been assigned to U.S. District Decide Eli J. Richardson and Magistrate Choose Barbara D. Holmes.

Baker Donelson “categorically denies that it entered into any conspiracy connected to Mr. DeLanis,” a statement from the organization sent by e mail Thursday, claimed. The firm also denies DeLanis’ promises he was fired. 

“We will not engage in general public debate relating to his departure. Baker Donelson will protect alone, and we are confident that defense will be prosperous,” the statement reported. 


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