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Kirkham in the clear on Foote appraisal

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By Damon Lawrence

Former Roane County property assessor Teresa Kirkham will not face criminal charges for the reduced assessment on the Regions Bank building in downtown Harriman.
The building is owned by Dr. Clary P. Foote. Current Property Assessor David Morgan claimed Kirkham lowered the appraisal on the building because she was dating Foote. Kirkham denied those allegations and said she lowered the appraisal on the building because it changed use after Foote bought it.
District Attorney General Russell Johnson asked the state comptroller’s office to investigate.
“I was unable to determine that the 2012 property value at which former assessor Teresa Kirkham arrived was improper or unsupported by reasonable basis,” Comptroller Assistant General Counsel Chadwick W. Jackson said in a letter to Johnson. “Given the fact that like-minds appear to differ as to the value of the subject property even among experts in the field whom were employed by the assessor’s office at the time of the reappraisal and an independent appraiser retained by the property owner, a determination that former assessor was unjustified in making the changes could not be reached.”
The grand jury heard testimony on the matter Wednesday and chose to take no action.
“We changed appraisals daily in that office, and there was nothing illegal done on it,” Kirkham said Wednesday.
The grand jury also heard about a TBI investigation that revealed inappropriate use of an office computer by one of Kirkham’s former employees. However, the grand jury determined the actions of the former employee did not amount to criminal conduct.