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Tax evader asked to resign

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By Cindy Simpson

A Rockwood Water Sewer and Natural Gas Board member has been asked to step down following charges of sales tax evasion in August.

William Edward “Eddie” Lee entered a guilty plea to three counts of sales tax evasion for each of his three businesses: Big E’s Quick Mart, Go-Mart in Harriman, and Big E’s Tobacco Outlet in Kingston for the period between January 2006 and December 2008.

Lee was put on eight years probation and granted judicial diversion but must pay the state $280,752.52 in restitution — or $3,000 per month.

“I’ve asked him to consider what he wants to do,” Mayor James Watts said following a recent meeting.

But Lee has taken no action as of yet.

“To my knowledge, he’s not resigned,” said Darryl Meadows, board chairman, on Monday.
Meadows added that the charges Lee has faced are not “a reflection on the previous work he (Lee) has done for the board.”

“I just think it would be best for him and the city,” Meadows added of Lee’s resignation.

Meadows said Lee has not been a presence at meetings since the news of his sales tax evasion plea deal came out, but he has been receiving his packets.

“We’ve been sending them to him like we otherwise would,” Meadows said.

Meadows said there have been regular board meetings as well as workshops since the news came out.

Manager Kim Ramsey confirmed that the board members get $50 a month stipend regardless of the amount of meetings or their attendance.

Officials do have some recourse if they wish to remove Lee from his seat.

Meadows said city attorney Greg Leffew has said an ouster suit can be filed.

Lee declined to comment for this story.