People reached out to me this week asking about the American Legion Post 37, at the Hamblen House downtown. I was told it was going bankrupt and was asked to try and "get to the bottom of it," which is always a fun task when you have no information to start with, or in this case, very very little.
Not many people were willing to talk, but I was able to reach a couple folks close to the situation, and high in the food-chain, who offered a bit of clarity, and say the legion was "stolen from so horribly, they have no money left to operate."
First of all, I'm told the post is most likely going under, alledgedly due to a massive misuse of funds under Commander, Mick Barnes.
"They are going to lose the building," says one insider.
The most egregious misuse of funds appears to be that Barnes directed the board to bring two major lawsuits against contractors and ex-managers. Barnes made sure his 'good buddy' Rick Rumrell was hired to head the suits. Rumrell was reportedly charging them up to $450.00/hr and totaled bills up to an alleged $180,000.00 for lawsuits that insiders say would normally cost around $35,000. *These are not 'official' numbers, but rather informed estimations. We will be attempting to look at public records to find further information.
These debts, along with other 'misusing of funds' (that we're also still looking into) crippled, and doomed the future of the legion.
Money was being "pissed away" by Barnes, say sources.
Initial reports indicate the legion wanted to bring the lawsuits against the contractors and ex-managers, before they had a chance to bring suits against the legion. This appears to be a massive dispute over money.
"They can’t pay the LOC. The building is reverting back to the Hamblen Foundation."
While information is still a bit cloudy and trickling in slowly, I hope to find more people on the inside who are willing to talk. I will provide online followers of My 904 with more information, as well as more descriptive documentation as it becomes available, but I wanted to give the community a brief update on what I've been told so far, for the many people who have asked me about this matter already.