Former, current candidate raise concerns about Johnson County Sh - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Former, current candidate raise concerns about Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece

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JOHNSON COUNTY, TN (WJHL-TV) - An outside district attorney will look into the actions of Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece in connection to his re-election campaign after a man who considered running for sheriff and a man who is running for sheriff say the incumbent crossed the line.

Along with Reece, Ed Hoak, Ken Lane, Jody Putnam and Johnny Roberts are all running for sheriff in the upcoming August 7th election.

Roberts and a man who considered a run for sheriff raised their concerns to First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark earlier this year. Clark previously said he is asking another DA to review the issues.

"They will be looked into," Clark said.

According to Clark, this is one of 12 to 15 campaign issues people have called into his office this election year.

Adam Lunceford has some strong accusations against the current sheriff. The Johnson City police officer considered a run for Johnson County sheriff, but backed out, he says due to the actions of Reece.

"(It) definitely is an abuse of power and an abuse of authority," Lunceford said. "During business hours when they're supposed to be conducting business for Johnson County, himself and his secretary, he directed to run around and obtain my personal information for his political profit and gain."

Johnson City Police Chief Mark Sirois confirms his office received a call regarding Lunceford's personal information back in March.

"My administrative coordinator did receive a call on March 3 from someone who identified herself from the Johnson County Sheriff's Office," Chief Sirois said. "She asked what our residency requirement for officers is, and then asked for Adam Lunceford's address and date of hire. The information was provided. This was not an unusual request as it was from a sister law enforcement agency and my coordinator felt the information was being requested for a legitimate reason."

Lunceford says the reason was not legitimate. He says he technically has two home addresses: one in Washington County and one in Johnson County. Johnson County Election Administrator Mike Long says when you file to run in Johnson County you have to declare residency.

"If you come in and I ask you where your residence is, you're swearing where you live," Long said. "You can be a resident of Johnson County if you say you have intent to return."

"He said if I turn in a packet and no one contested it that I would be okay to run, but if someone contested the packet that I turned in that there could possibly be action taken against me," Lunceford said.

He says he believed if he did file, the sheriff would challenge him.

"I think that the sheriff obtained the information fraudulentlyy," Lunceford said. "He was going to use it against me to help him and his political campaign."

Sheriff Reece declined an on-camera interview, but did comment about the situation.

"I called the Johnson City Police Department to verify his employment and his address, because he had (intended to turn in) his paperwork at our commission office and give his address as Mountain City and that he was going to run for sheriff, which would be lie," Sheriff Reece said. "His driver's license did say Gray. I verified his address was his address. I contacted Tony Clark and Tony contacted the chief of police. If he had turned (the papers) back in he would have committed a felony. He was in violation of the law. The only reason he didn't get charged is because he didn't turn in the paperwork. He can be charged once he turns that paperwork in."

Lunceford isn't the only one with concerns about the sheriff. There's also the case of Johnny Roberts.

"When I picked the papers up and decided (to run for sheriff), that's when it started going downhill," Roberts said of his relationship with the sheriff, his boss.

Roberts, a former sheriff and most recently a former deputy, resigned in late March, citing a change in his relationship with Reece after he picked up his papers to run against him.

"I dug my grave by picking the papers up," Roberts said. "I've done saw the light at the end of the tunnel so I had no option I felt. I looked at it as workplace harassment, because up until that point there had been no problems."

This was Roberts' fourth resignation at the department, something the sheriff reminded us of. Reece also says leading up to Roberts' latest resignation the man was written up once and also failed to do paperwork on a serious car wreck.

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