Comptroller’s report finds Sheriff Robert Arnold broke numerous laws, policies

Sheriff Robert Arnold (Photo: WKRN)
Sheriff Robert Arnold (Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) –The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said Wednesday it has completed its review of numerous problems within the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a release, many of the issues involve now-jailed Sheriff Robert Arnold and Chief Deputy of Administration Joe Russell. Both men are facing a 14-count federal indictment.

Investigators determined that Arnold and Russell violated multiple state and local laws, policies and procedures by concealing their relationship with JailCigs, a Georgia-based company that sells e-cigarettes to inmates, including those within the Rutherford County jail.

Arnold failed to disclose his conflict of interest with JailCigs even though he and his wife received a combined $66,790 from the company from December 2013 through April 2015.

During that same time period, Russell received more than $52,000 from JailCigs.

The report also states that Arnold and Russell also violated county purchasing policies by circumventing the process and failing to solicit bids.

When comptroller investigators interviewed Sheriff Arnold about his conflict of interest, he said, “The sheriff is exempt from all policies and procedures.” Arnold, however, could not provide documentation to support that statement.

The report also revealed a Rutherford County deputy made false statements on federal and state forms when he indicated he was a U.S. citizen. The deputy later became a citizen in late February after investigators started asking about the false statements.

Click here for complete coverage of the Sheriff Robert Arnold case.