Pickler ready to defend himself over accusations - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Pickler ready to defend himself over accusations

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Long time Shelby County Schools board member David Pickler responded to allegations of ethical misconduct by saying he is ready to defend himself before a newly appointed ethics committee.

Pickler, who was president of the SCS board for years, has hired an attorney and submitted his formal response to claims made in December 2012 he did not disclose a potential personal financial benefit from school board business.

The claims were made Dec. 18, 2012, by fellow board member Martavius Jones, who shocked everyone when he called for Pickler's resignation.

MORE: Ethics panel forms amid Pickler accusations
MORE: Jones calls for Pickler's resignation from board

Jones presented evidence that Pickler's financial firm is the investor of record for Memphis City Schools $12 million investment into what's know as the Gas-B 45 Fund.

Jones says Pickler never revealed he was financially benefiting from the investment, and therefore violated ethically rules.

The board did not ask for Pickler's resignation. Instead it set up an ethics panel made up of school board members to investigate the claims. The panel has not yet met, but FOX13 News has obtained the response Pickler had prepared for that upcoming meeting.

In the report, Pickler denies any wrong doing. He says he did not benefit from the investment without reporting it, because he did not have an opportunity to disclose it.

He hired an attorney to look over all the claims, and says he only had one opportunity to vote on the Gas-B Funds, and abstained from voting in that case.

Jones had suggested that the $12 million investment was approved during the budget process in June 2012, and that Pickler would have voted at that time. But in the response, Pickler says the funds were moved before the budget was approved, using a surplus from the previous year. The board never approved that allocation of tax payer dollars.

Instead, his response says former Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash and board president Billy Orgel moved those funds without board approval.

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