A deep dive into the Rocky Top corruption scandal

The Rocky Top investigation of the 1980s revealed bingo parlor operators had taken over state charters of legitimate Tennessee charities to run illegal gambling operations. Several state officials were indicted in the probe and two committed suicide. Randy McNally, then a backbencher in the state Senate, played a key role in the investigation by wearing a wire for FBI. Today, he’s the speaker of the Senate.

The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert has taken a deep dive into the scandal — and its lessons for the current political climate — for the paper’s its Grand Divisions podcast and in a print story with lots of great archival images.

It’s a great read (or listen) for a rainy fall day in Tennessee. Check it out here.



9 Responses to A deep dive into the Rocky Top corruption scandal

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Why was Randy McNally in a position to get inside with a wire? What type of immunity did he receive? Interesting…..

  • MARLE says:

    Imagine all these goings on Before we became enlightened and realized that the only legitimate Purveyor OF and Profiteer From gambling was the State itself.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    alcohol and the vicious cycle of DUI vs. the expansion of the drug is also a state racket

  • Eddie White says:

    I know Gentry Crowell committed sucide. What was his role in the scandal? I don’t believe he was ever indicted.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I don’t know what the state law is now, but I know the veterans’ groups and senior citizens and others want bingo. Bring it on without the shady operators. Let them play for prizes.

    Speaking of scams, here in Columbia, some of us are wondering about a group of Hindus from India who showed up last year and gave a little money to the fire department — like $200 or something, I don’t recall exactly, but it wasn’t much — and made the assistant fire chief and the mayor, etc., wear funny hats. Photos of this were in the newspaper. Ty Cobb was absent. I would have been, too. The community honchos did manage, barely, to keep straight faces, but I was so embarrassed for them, I couldn’t look at the photos long, but I almost fell down laughing. This may be sacrilegious of me. Anyway, these Hindus want to make Columbia a major ashram or something. I taught yoga for many years, but I wonder why they picked us. You can scroll down at this link and see the photos of the funny hats. Can some Hindu explain these hats? Saritha, are you out there? Thank you.


    Another funny photo was in the Columbia paper yesterday. The Columbia mayor, Chaz Molder, and the Maury County mayor, Andy Ogles, who parachuted in and won with 37% of the vote, which I try to say at every opportunity, were photographed holding, well, clenching, hands in a clinic while getting their flu shots together. I don’t think this photo is online, but it was in print. Molder is a Democrat and the, or a, son-in-law of Craig Fitzhugh. Ogles is a bad version of a Republican. The two have hit it off and walk around wearing sunglasses together. I was hoping Molder would show some sense about overdevelopment, as he hinted, but that doesn’t appear likely now.

    I am thinking Columbia has flipped into another reality. Things have gotten strange here.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Lovers That should be pretty obvious.

  • James White says:

    An Eye opener about Congress and specifically Jim Cooper…..

    • Beatrice Shaw says:

      wow! Good for Congressman Cooper! Vanderbilt has some of the best-if not THE best-programs, curriculum, public outreach, medicine and training in the world. great ROI for Tennesseans with Cooper! Hooray, Jim!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *