Report: Lawmaker’s furniture company struck deal to supply hospital gowns to state

Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) attends a House floor session on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

WTVF-TV investigative reporter Phil Williams is raising questions about no-bid contracts handed out to politically connected vendors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them appears to have been state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station), who landed a deal to supply hospital gowns through his furniture company.

According to Williams, Sexton’s arrangment was to supply $165,000 worth of gowns at $5.50 a piece, nearly double the amount charged by other vendors. Sexton delivered the gowns but the purchase order was canceled after the TV station began asking questions. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declined to say why.

According to Williams’ report:

Sexton, who still hasn’t been paid, declined NewsChannel 5’s request to explain what happened.

[State Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville] noted that state law makes it illegal for state officials to bid on state contracts, although various attorney general’s opinions have raised questions about whether that statute applies in such cases.

Yarbro said it at least raises some ethical red flags.

“If in the early days of COVID, we weren’t paying attention to that basic rule and were planning to pay a legislator, I think it raises significant questions about just the level of oversight into all of these contracts.”

33 Responses to Report: Lawmaker’s furniture company struck deal to supply hospital gowns to state

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    steve cates says:

    I am reminded of that old song, “Thieves, thieves, tramps and thieves….”…..

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    James White says:

    Shame and hopefully illegal

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    Donna Locke says:

    All aboard the gravy train. Oh wait, not us.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    This is a recurring theme with Republicans. Should not be a surprise. It is shameful and he should not be paid. If he is elected then he is for sure independently wealthy. He does not need the small fortune he is charging the state. I’m sure its pocket change for them anyway.

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      MARLE says:

      This is Not how Rep usually feather their own nests. This guy is a piker compared to those who know how to do it up right. The primo way to go about this is to write legislation requiring all state employees and private industry to use a product or service your family business can supply (drug testing comes to mind as an example). Selling a side-bar product like one component of PPE which has a life cycle of the pandemic is really No Way to become rich. And it most certainly is NOT how Rep do it.

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    Beaner says:

    Typical. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of his constituents don’t watch Phil Williams, and he’ll cruise to reelection.

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      Active Nana says:

      For certain and also for certain! It is assured because constituents do not hold elected officials accountable and elected officials volunteer no information. If they do volunteer information, it is in the service of misdirection. Local media in the area around Bean Station do not interview elected officials or track legislation or legislators like Rep. Sexton, Rep. Faison or Rep. Eldridge. Best way to think of these three amigos is to catch the scene of Charles Durning singing “Dance a Little Sidestep” in the 1982 musical “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” https://youtu.be/AALREbJZEZk?list=RDAALREbJZEZk

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Agreed, the republicans always seem to be the ones with their hand in the cookie jar. Do you think this was a big secrete in Nashville? I bet there are more non-contracts just like this one. Just don’t forget the Head Thief in Washington DC, he and his family and friends are cleaning out the government coffers as fast as they can. It seems like a new crime is exposed every day. November can’t come soon enough.

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      MARLE says:

      I guess you are forgetting Hillary Clinton who accepted her “dream job” appointment as Sec of State. This allowed her to be, on the taxpayer dime, in the presence of every potentate, emir, dictator in the world whereby she secured for her Family Foundations 100’s of Millions in “donations”. You had the Saudi Princes donating to a foundation that had the Ascendancy of Women as one of its principal objectives, for pete’s sake. (as proof that this was just influence peddling to feather the Clinton nest the “donations” completely dried up post her election loss)

      THIS is how Dems do it. That and lobby gigs apres office.

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      Lona says:

      Good grief!!!! This isn’t about REPUBLICANS!! This is about CORRUPTION! Don’t you remember Iimmy Naifie? Or were you living here then??? This state has issues across the board. Don’t be so daft.. To quote a famous line from a movie….”Aren’t you tired?”

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Please let’s not forget he as an American Conservative Union rating of 89% so he deserves to be cut a little slack and evaluated holistically.

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      MARLE says:

      Yes the ACU has done your thinking for you using god-knows-what metrics for scoring votes across god-only-knows what policy categories. But having taken thinking off your plate~ Go back to tiddlywinks.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        On the contrary, as a conservative I have made a perfectly rational decision to use an organization that has the same world view as myself and their rating methodology that rates all officeholders on the same criterion as a good quick way to evaluate officeholders. In doing so I join other political activists and media types who commonly use the ACU/Heritage/Club For Growth ratings. As for the “metrics” they use to arrive at their rating, it is set out on their website for all to see.

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          MARLE says:

          Well I am a conservative and they clearly do NOT reflect mine. I assume they are weighting their scores so that over 10 conservative values some get the max weight and some get very little weight. That must be the case b/c Heritage gives a person who wants to give legal status to every “law abiding” illegal alien and add trillions to the deficit and debt and rubber stamp this travesty of a tax code a Very High Score.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            The difference between us is that you are a “minutia lady” and I am a “big picture man.” No two conservatives, to say nothing of those less fortunate, would agree on the weighting to give every issue facing this country in coming up with a useful scorecard. The scorecards are to be used for comparative purposes between officeholders insofar as the pols are all judged on the same criterion over a number of issues. No one can dispute that Marsha (Heritage-85%) is more conservative than Mitch McConnell (Heritage-63%) and both are more conservative than Lamar Alexander (Heritage-51%). We don’t need scorecards for that insight but it is useful, for example, for the people of North Carolina to know how worthlessness of Thom Tillis (Heritage-63%) and other lesser known officeholders. Individuals who are one issue voters should, of course, expand on the information from the ratings and find out how their legislators voted on that issue and, I assume, that will override the ratings in determining their vote.

            When commenting on articles in this blog it is the overall ideological leanings of officeholders that is of interest. It is here where the ratings are useful. I didn’t know Jerry Sexton’s ideology but his ACU rating of 89% gives me a pretty good idea. That is what the use to which the ratings that I am so happy to provide should be put.

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            MARLE says:

            OR you could just listen to what they say as they run for office and hold them accountable for telling the truth. Then you get the words straight from their mouth in Real time and not through a filter (except for their penchant for lying).

            Some Votes I suppose you understand, Stuart, are manipulated by the nose counting phenomenon. Sometimes a vote cast is dependent, not on their promises of how they would govern, but on how much of a lease they are given by the lap-dog master.

            NO….I’ll just stick to listening to what they have to say and depending on how well they uphold or renege on promises made I will award a reliable Marle Score.

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      Cannoneer2 says:

      I was trying to get that exact response about the ACU typed in before I saw that you had posted it. Mine would have been with sarcasm though. It is the minutiae that are going to bring the FBI back in at some point for another good, thorough investigation of the General Assembly. I for one look forward to it.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        As you know Cannoneer we conservatives are big law and order men so I believe that anyone who does the crime should do the time even if they have an ACU rating of 89%, which is in pleasant contrast to leftists who want to eliminate bail, release prisoners from jail at the slightest pretext, reduce the penalties for assaulting police, but you no doubt know the litany of leftist “criminal justice reforms” better than I. This, of course, is to say nothing about liberals selective enforcement of the law based on the perceived political ideology of the perpetrator.

        Before the FBI is unleashed to investigate the “hospital gown via furniture company case,” however, perhaps it could bestir itself to pursue the organization that funds the leftist storm troopers that cross state lines to kill, loot, and pillage in communities across this country. As a “big picture man” I simply have my priorities straight that’s all.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    They are DIIIRRRTTTTYYYYY!

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    Benton Temple says:

    As a republican myself, Jerry Sexton is an embarrassment to our party. This looks and smells bad. On top of that, he’s not a serious legislator. You can’t point to one piece of legislation he has spearheaded during his time in office and say, “Geez. Thank God that Jerry Sexton is representing us.” Just another guy that needs to be primaried and removed in 2022.

    Needs to go the way of Hill, Hill, and Van Huss.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Indeed Benton, you may be a Republican yourself, but I just have this sneaky suspicion that you are a Republican of decidedly centrist or coldly tepid conservative convictions. Just the type of Republican that has made it the feckless, craven political party that it is.

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        Benton Temple says:

        Ok, Stuart.

        Tell Representative Gina Oster hello.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Will do!

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          BTW Benton I recently had a fabulous idea about changing the Republican symbol and you seem like just the individual to run it by. As you know, the symbol of the Republican Party is an elephant. Now the elephant is a powerful, highly intelligent animal whose presence is felt by everyone, hardly indicative of today’s Republican Party. I feel a more appropriate symbol for the party is called for as we head into another decade of this century.

          How about a clump of tall grass as the new symbol of the modern Republican Party? So many Republican officeholders spend so much of their time hiding in the tall grass, especially when an issue arises that might make the mainstream media angry if they take a conservative position, so I feel like they might as well make a clump of tall grass the symbol of the party. What do you think?

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Speaking of ratings, several different organizations rate Tennessee in the top ten states with the most corrupt governments. Tennessee ranked number one on at least one of those.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      And pray how on earth do they come up with a rating like that? You see Cannoneer, you have to be discriminating about the ratings you take seriously.

      On the other hand, and on a pleasanter note, Eaton Vance a venerable, major municipal bond investor has issued a ranking of states based on their credit worthiness based on, according to Barron’s, ” . . .crunching essential financial and economic data from the past fiscal year. . .including debt levels, pension liabilities, healthcare obligations, and economic metrics. Thanks to a conservative Republican legislature Tennessee was ranked SEVENTH out of the fifty (or according to Obama 57) states. Sort of makes you happy and prideful that you live in Tennessee doesn’t it Cannoneer?

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        Cannoneer2 says:

        Don’t worry, Stuart, nothing will come of this anyway. Newschannel 5 is reporting today that Governor Lee has no intentions of stopping the Covid spending spree. I would imagine that more of Rep. Sexton’s colleagues can still get in on the act, hastily forming new corporations and grabbing a pile of state dollars for themselves.

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    Misty Pardner says:

    Bill Lee has proven himself to be a new good ol boy network manager. Look at this and appointments of the past two years.

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    John Broyles says:

    Interesting

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