From left: Jason Bizwell, Dana McLendon and McLendon’s mother campaign outside of Hunters Bend Elementary on Thursday, October 28, 2017/ Photo by Brooke Wanser
By BROOKE WANSER
Ward 2 Alderman Dana McLendon filed a motion Tuesday seeking to receive responses from plaintiff Michael Vaughn in a lawsuit alleging McLendon intimidated voters and incurred voter fraud during the recent city election.
Vaughn, who lost last October’s Ward 2 alderman election by 28 votes, filed a suit against McLendon and the Williamson County Election Commission on Nov. 9, alleging election violations on McLendon and the county’s part.
While the election commission has asked for dismissal of the charges on grounds that Vaughn has failed to provide evidence, McLendon has taken the offensive by requesting Vaughn admit his failure to fully answer all questions in his discovery.
In the initial request for discovery, filed Nov. 14, McLendon asked Vaughn to provide a complete list of witnesses, including names and addresses, who might testify in a court case, and for a list of alleged incidences when McLendon acted fraudulently, among several other requests.
Vaughn did not respond until prompted by another request from McLendon on Dec. 18.
Under Rule 37 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, McLendon has filed a motion for an order to force Vaughn to respond fully to discovery responses.
“I’m asking the judge to deem those admitted,” McLendon said, adding Vaughn’s responses filed would be considered insufficient in court.
Vaughn said he filed the lawsuit because voters came to him complaining about McLendon’s alleged actions after the election.
“Eight or nine women came to me and said, ‘Look, this is what happened to us,’” Vaughn said, pointing to an instance he alleged in his discovery of Fieldstone Farms residents being bullied by McLendon via social media.
“These folks got intimidated and suppressed and they felt like it was very egregious and I couldn’t let them stand up there by themselves, so I filed,” Vaughn said on Tuesday evening.
Vaughn also said several residents have filed a separate case against the Williamson County Election Commission with District Attorney Kim Helper. McLendon countered that one of the women in Vaughn’s discovery had written a letter to Helper.
When asked about his failure to provide sufficient details and evidence in his initial discovery response, Vaughn did not disagree, but said, “It will come forward. I gave references for those situations.”
“In the light of all this stuff that happens with intimidation these days, and social media, I could not stand by and let these folks go in there by themselves,” Vaughn continued.
McLendon maintains he never intimidated voters or suppressed votes, and said he will issue subpoenas for testimony under oath at the appropriate time.
“He’s on the clock,” McLendon said.
A hearing is set to be held in the chancery court at the Williamson County Courthouse at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2.
Documents state if no response has been received by the local rules of practice–in this case, the date of the hearing–the motion may be granted without a hearing.
If the motion is granted, Vaughn may be ordered to pay McLendon expenses for his legal fees; as a longtime criminal defense attorney, McLendon has represented himself throughout the case.