Indicted for fraud, Tennessee officials resign and reach judicial transaction

Nashville, Tennessee (AP) —Republican Senator in Tennessee resigned on Monday shortly after the court document was opened and is facing federal transfer fraud involving a shameful former Speaker of the House. Clarified.

A court document shows that Congressman Robin Smith’s legal team has also reached a judicial deal with the prosecutor. Rep. Hixson’s plea is scheduled for Tuesday.

The indictment worked closely with former Speaker of the House Glen Casada and his then Chief of Staff, Cade Koslen, through a political consulting firm that was pouring money into them while hiding their involvement. Claims. Kasada and Koslen are described, but the documentation does not have a name.

“We intended to devise and devise plans and techniques to defraud and deprive civil servants of their right to sincere service from citizens and the Tennessee government of central Tennessee,” Smith said. ..

Casada resigned from the top leadership post in 2019 after revealing that she had exchanged sexually explicit text messages about women a few years ago. January 2021, FBI agents searched homes and offices At the time of several state legislators, including the houses of Casada, Smith, and Koslen, federal agents refused to clarify the reason for the investigation. To date, no charges have been filed against Koslen or Casada.

However, the exposure of the document on Monday seems to give more insight into the assault. According to the document, Koslen launched a political consulting firm called Phoenix Solutions LLC in 2019 designed to provide email and consulting services to lawmakers in Smith and Casada’s “Knowledge and Support.” In fact, the document claims that it was Koslen using the created alias.

According to authorities, Phoenix Solutions was initially established to provide postal and consulting political services to lawmakers facing primary opponents. The work later expanded to send taxpayer-funded mail to its members, from which another Smith-owned company, Phoenix Solutions, and another Casada-owned company, in line with 2020. The document states that it received nearly $ 52,000.

Smith, Koslen and Casada hid Kosren’s involvement in Phoenix Solutions. It was disclosed. In addition, the prosecution argued that they hid Koslen’s “kickback” of some of his profits to Smith and Casada because he wouldn’t use Phoenix Solutions as a vendor if he knew Koslen’s involvement. There is.

None of Cothren, Casada, or Smith’s lawyers immediately responded to AP’s request for comment on Monday.

“I resigned most humbly and without respect for the role of civil servants,” Smith told the House of Representatives in a letter on Monday.

In 2020, Koslen’s then-girlfriend and Koslen exchanged emails as “Candice” and “Matthew,” pretending that Phoenix Solutions employees needed to secure unpaid payments that the state hadn’t paid. Authorities said. The exchange was transferred to Smith. No girlfriend was identified.

According to prosecutors, Smith told Republican lawmakers in 2020 that “Matthew Phoenix and his companion Candice are tired of living in the Washington, DC region and will return to New Mexico, where Phoenix began the Phoenix solution. I decided on it. “

At some point, there is a document in which Smith sends an email to Koslen claiming that he may need to take on Matthew’s role again. He replied, “Matthew, reporting on the mission!” And included a GIF of “Salute from Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo in the movie Star Wars,” officials said.

Officials also say Smith provided false information about Matthew Phoenix to current Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton and other legislators when requesting payments to Phoenix.

According to court records, when Smith forwarded those messages to Koslen, she wrote “Shhhhhhhhhh.”

“Monday is a” sad day, “and” we will continue to work fully with federal authorities for the duration of the investigation, “Mr. Sexton added in an email statement.

“More than a year ago, federal officials began investigating public corruption. Today’s news and the final resignation of Congressman Smith are a sad day for everyone who knows her,” Kasada said. Sexton, who took over the top position when he resigned in 2019, said.

Still, Mr. Sexton said, “I claim that certain individuals have used the official ability to target members of the General Assembly and Republican caucuses by using fake companies to illegally and deceptively suck up money. It was clear in the document. “

Smith, 58, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018. She was previously Chairman of the Republican Party of Tennessee and Policy Advisor to Republican US Congressman Mark Greene.

November Casada Announced that he will not run for reelection this yearInstead, run for Williamson County Secretary.

Meanwhile, Koslen has informed the state’s campaign finance regulator that it has exercised its fifth amendment right to self-incrimination and will not comply with the subpoena in an investigation surrounding the political action committee.

Regulators have decided in January that the PAC treasurer testified that she was Koslen’s ex-girlfriend and resumed investigations into the Faith and Family Freedom Fund after opening the PAC.According to the action, Chattanooga Times Free Press..

PAC attacked the person in charge at that time. Rick Tillis, brother of US Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Rick Tyris lost to Congressman Todd Werner in the 2020 Republican primary. Todd Werner was one of the members of the FBI investigation.