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TN Politics: When a Ford and a Jet Full of Memphians Both Land in Hot Water

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This week, an independent investigation concluded that Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford, Jr. violated ethics policies in 2019 when he helped a nonprofit organization acquire a $450,000 county grant. Soon after, $45,000 of that was used to purchase computers from a company that Ford owns. 

As the original vote was being held, Ford suddenly stepped away, but did not officially recuse himself. Political analyst Otis Sanford says this could pose long term problems for Ford, who has aspirations to higher office. 


Another local scandal came to light on Thursday when Vanity Fair Magazine published an article about a group of well-connected Memphians and Trump supporters who took a private jet to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6 Trump rally. Promptly upon their return, the individuals scrubbed their social media posts and refused to answer questions about the trip, which had placed them in close proximity to the insurrection at the capitol. 

As rumors of the trip circulated through various social and media circles, including a grainy Instagram screenshot of the group in front of the plane allegedly owned by one of the individuals, the story gained no traction here. 

Sanford argues that the public has a right to know when influential members of the community whose names are in the public sphere are participating in controversial political movements. 

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher's favorite haunt is the intersection of history and cultural change. He is WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.