Pubdate: Sat, 29 Apr 2006
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2006 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Jamie Satterfield
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Owner of land featured in ad gets involved in top-prosecutor

Stoney Duncan never cared who would be the Fourth Judicial District's
next top prosecutor - until now.

His newfound interest in the race to replace retiring District
Attorney General Al Schmutzer as top prosecutor in Sevier, Cocke,
Grainger and Jefferson counties came after a phone call about a
political commercial that aired this week on local television stations.

"I really thought it was a joke," Duncan said.

In the advertisement, candidate Joe Baker is shown standing in front
of property Duncan owns on the Parkway in Sevierville where the Green
Valley Motel is being demolished.

Baker states in the commercial that a methamphetamine lab was
discovered in a room at the motel and resulted in the demolition of
the building. He promises that if he is elected top prosecutor,
residents won't have to worry about that kind of illegal activity and
its destructive forces.

There was a meth lab discovered last year in a room in an older
section of the motel that was being used to house employees.

But that's not why the entire motel, including a newer three-story
section unaffected by the meth lab discovery, is being torn down.

Duncan insists and Sevierville planning official Butch Stott confirms
that the buildings are being demolished to make way for new

"The demolition permit was issued for the purpose of future
development," Stott said.

"We bought that property with the intention of eventually tearing it
down," Duncan said. "We want to build a big store there, and I'd like
to lease some of that property. I mean, it's right there on the
Parkway. Plus, we were losing money with the motel. You know, the big
thing here now is cabins."

Sevierville Police Chief Donnie Myers confirmed that the main part of
the motel was unaffected by the meth lab discovery and that no rooms
in the one-story wing where the lab was found were condemned as a result.

Baker said Friday that he is pulling the commercial "out of respect"
for Duncan.

He said he based the advertisement on information from the Sevierville
Police Department that "multiple units were being torn down" because
of the meth lab.

SPD told the News Sentinel at the time of the lab discovery that no
rooms in the three-story structure were affected and that the
one-story section of the motel was only temporarily evacuated pending

Baker conceded that he did not talk to Duncan before filming the

"I did speak with an employee of the owners," Baker said, adding that
Duncan's wife and daughter did not return his calls prior to the filming.

Baker, a Sevierville attorney who worked for Schmutzer before going
into private practice, is running against Jimmy Dunn, a veteran
prosecutor in Schmutzer's office.

Since both are running in the Republican primary and face no
Democratic opposition, their race will be decided in Tuesday's election.

Dunn declined comment on the commercial fracas.

Duncan said Friday that he now knows for whom he will

"I put me up some Jimmy Dunn signs," he said. 
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