Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To the Citizens of District 30 - From Richard Fields

Attorney Richard Fields has purchased an ad in the Memphis Flyer that comes out today. We've been given an exclusive first look at this ad.

All District 30 voters, myself included, would do well to remember all of this as we go to the polls.

To: Citizens of State Senate District 30

From: Richard B. Fields

Re: Robert L. J. Spence, Attorney and Candidate in the Democratic
Primary for District 30

Date: January 12, 2007

My name is Richard B. Fields and I am a civil rights attorney who has practiced in Memphis since 1976. I have worked on cases involving school desegregation, racial employment discrimination involving the Memphis Fire Department, MLGW, and the Sheriff’s Department. I have also served as chairman of the legal redress committee of the local branch of the NAACP for over 20 years. Most recently, I helped stop the installation of a nuclear waste incinerator on President’s Island that would have spewed nuclear waste over South Memphis and downtown. I love this city and the people who live here.

The purpose of this letter is to warn the voters of District 30 of the danger of electing Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., to the state senate seat. Although I have championed black candidates for all political offices and have been a life-long Democrat, I felt compelled to write this letter because I have followed Robert’s career over the years and I am alarmed at the legal decisions he made and the resulting millions of dollars lost by the City of Memphis because of his faulty advice and his personal pursuit of wealth to the detriment of the citizens of Memphis. Ironically, I supported Robert when he was appointed City Attorney and signed a petition for him in his race for school board of the behest of some of my close friends. I now apologize to the citizens of Memphis and this letter is part of my repentance for not recognizing earlier Robert’s inability to work for the public good.

Some of the outrageous examples of Robert’s legal advice include:

1. Robert advised the City of Memphis not to settle with Bellsouth concerning a franchise tax that was declared invalid by the Tennessee Court of Appeals and review was denied by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The estimated liability to the City of Memphis could be as high as $25 million.

2. Robert approved a contract with the architectural firm hired for overseeing the Cannon Center construction who ultimately caused a cost over-run of $16 million – with the contract only providing for $1 million in malpractice coverage on a $25 million project.

3. Robert tried to get Mayor Herenton to sign an open-ended contract when he set up a law firm pending his retirement for a fee of $300 per hour for all outside work for the City of Memphis. The Mayor commissioned Lucian Pera, the coordinating attorney of the new Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct, to review the contract and the arrangement Robert proposed. Mr. Pera found that Robert’s actions were a conflict of interest. The law firm was never formed, but Robert was able to retire with an immediate lifetime pension of over $30,000 per year.

4. An associate of Robert’s wrote in the Memphis Bar Association Journal about Robert’s involvement as chief negotiator for the City in the FedEx Forum contract negotiations where he allegedly worked for 4 weeks at 18 hour days to finalize the contract. We later learned that he approved that the City use $6 million of state transportation money for the bus terminal that was not built. As recently as December 13, 2006, he denied that he advised the Mayor to sign a contract that was in direct conflict with another contract promising the Grizzlies use of the $6 million for parking places. His signatures were on both contracts. The City has now had to defer building roads and streets in the amount of $6 million and the FBI is investigating the contracts.

5. Finally, after Robert retired from the City Attorney position in 2004, he began to represent RACE, a company who proposed to build a nuclear incinerator on President’s Island, blocks away from neighborhoods in South Memphis and a few miles away from downtown Memphis. At the same time, Robert was general counsel to the Riverfront Development Corporation whose purpose is to preserve and develop the Downtown riverfront. His wife Dorcelle, who also serves as an executive for the Riverfront Development Corporation at a salary of $100,000 per year, sent an email supporting the nuclear incinerator.

Fortunately, a coalition of black and white citizens from Downtown and South Memphis organized and stopped construction of the incinerator.

This letter is my own opinion. Since there is only one other candidate in the state senate democratic primary, Beverly Marrero, I urge all citizens to vote for her. This special primary election is on January 25, 2007. Early voting is taking place now.

I have always subscribed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s powerful words that some day people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Robert L. J. Spence, Jr.’s character is flawed as he puts his own interests over those of the black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and other citizens of Memphis. I have taught my children (who are biracial and black) that when you go out in the world no one knows your father is a white attorney. You must treat all people fairly as you want to be treated regardless of skin color. With that in mind, if Robert’s children had attended the daycare that was within blocks of the proposed nuclear incinerator, would he have so passionately defended the company that proposed to put it there?

Please distribute this letter to your friends and neighbors so they can make an informed choice in the State Senate District 30 Democratic Primary.

7 comments:

Wilder said...

Robert Spence on FedEx Forum

I quote, "Former City Atty. Robert Spence last week said he interpreted the federal regulation to mean that the city, county or New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority couldn't make a profit on the garage — but a third party, such as the Grizzlies, could."

Whose interest do you think he was looking out for when making that call?

Thank you Richard.

Anonymous said...

Richard Fields is a sworn enemy of Robert Spence. All the "information" he provides should be taken with large grains of salt. He had self serving motivation for his efforts to discredit all those black judicial and court clerk candidates in the last election and he is doing the same thing to Robert in this election. Fields is using the Flyer and this forum to discredit Robert because those he wants to most influence are liberal white Democrats. He knows that politics in Memphis boil down to black and white and if he can give white Democratic voters and excuse to vote for the white candidate then he may influence the outcome. This just more of the historical same in this city.

He bills himself as a "civil rights" attorney. Well, let’s see what the actual civil rights establishment of our city has to say about that. Soon, in the next day or two, there will be a response to his claim by those actual leaders.

How can he be perceived as credible when he is a known sexual pervert and pedophile? Richard Fields is not to be believed. Robert Spence is just the kind of candidate we need. He is above all else ethical and capable. He is a man allowing his reputation to be sullied by hacks like Fields simply to provide to the young people of our community the image of a politician that can not be bought. Does anyone here believe a shyster like Joe Cooper could purchase the support of Robert Spence for $1,500 like Calvin Williams, or for $5,000 like Roscoe Dixon or for any of the sums we see in the media? Personally, I know Cooper or no other crook could influence Robert. He has his own means.

If what we more of the same, then we follow the recommendation of that fraud Richard Fields, but if we want to improve the quality of our government starting with the Senate Democratic Primary in the District 30 State Senate race, then we vote for and support the candidacy of Robert Spenc.

Oh, BTW, is Richard Fields now or has ever been a City employee? If not then ask him how he has City health insurance benefits.

LeftWingCracker said...

Are you implying that Fields or Marrero could be bought? that's slander, no wonder you're anonymous.

I haven't always agreed with Richard, but if he says someone's a bad lawyer, I will trust his judgement.

You've got no reason listed to vote for Spence that can't be debunked. it's over and you know it.

yellow dog dem said...

I never suggested Marrero could be bought. I don't know how you drew that conclusion. Now, Fields that's another matter. He's a charlatan. As far as you saying, "it's over and you know it." I know nothing of the sort. This race is far from over, and if it is, it will be with a Spence victory.

You say also you "will trust his judgment." WHY! Richard Fields has assailed the reputations of many people over the last year for personal benefit and now he's attacking Robert. But consider this, Fields is currently accused of multiple, let me say that again, multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Responsibility. He has been said to be a "danger to the public" as an attorney in a claim to the Board of Professional Responsibility. He has such animus for Spence because Robert (who has never been charged with any violations in a 20 year legal career) has been named by the Board to oversee the hearing for many of those charges. Yes, Spence is held in such high esteem by his peers in the legal community that he sits in judgment of other members of the Bar.

Look, I come to the conclusion you, leftwingcracker, will only consider “slander” and not facts. Research and see if what I say is true. If your willingness to accept any accusation is based in your support for Marrero and opposition to Spence, your decision making seems completely flawed. Robert Spence wins this primary and goes on to defeat Parrish in the general.

cocoanut said...

I'm up to my neck with all this racist bullcorn. First off, Cracker I'm really fed up with your constant race baiting and the clever way you try to incite white people with your constant cries of "Race. Race. Race." I don't give a rat's ass who you vote for whether the person is purble, green or blue riding a polka-dotted horse because you have one damn vote, just like I do. You are way too full of yourself bud.

Now Fields on the other hand is quite a piece of work. I get the impression that his love for (or lust - hell, I don't know)black women and to be proud, I suppose, of making half black babies somehow gives him a right of passage. Hell, as you know, white men have been screwing black women for ages and that doesn't mean that they automatically shed their cloak of racism.

He took very good care not to mention the circumstances in which he was asked to resign from the Democratic Executive Committee or face expulsion.

I don't know the disposition of the molestation charge that was filed against Mr. Fields or even if it was filed, however, I did witness the complaint.

I do believe that people who live in glass houses should participate in stone throwing or shit slinging lest a boudler might hit your very house!

Am I supposed to feel that I owe Mr. Fields my trust as the Cracker eludes to? Hell no, just because you have done what you thought was right as a human being in protecting the rights of a group of people who were being discriminated against, does not make you a hero. It means you did the right thing and hopefully for the right reasons. I don't owe you anything either. Decent people make humane choices. Through the years blacks in positions to affect the lives of white people have made many choices that either aided in or protected their welfare or rights. That doesn't make them heroes, it just means that they did their jobs in a humane way.

I'm not ungrateful but just tired of you projecting that somehow because of the work you have done to benefit blacks that we should trust first that you have our best interest at heart and two that you don't have your own hidden agenda.

I hope that people will back up and take a long look with objective eyes before assigning too much credit to your letter.

yellow dog dem said...

Important information regarding

ROBERT SPENCE

State Senate District 30


Election Day: January 25th

January 19, 2007

“NO ONE IS SUCH A LIAR AS THE INDIGNANT "MAN" Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”



Dear Friends and Neighbors:

You may have been the recipient of a hate-filled letter from Richard Fields purportedly informing you of the danger of electing me to the State Senate from District 30 and seeking your vote for my opponent in the Democratic primary. Since the release of this pox on each of us, my family and I have been humbled by the overwhelming response from so many of you expressing your sadness that we had been attacked in such a vicious way and rejecting the obvious unmitigated lies – and for this we are extremely grateful and forever in your debt.

It is disheartening that those of us who seek to elevate and uplift our community and have an honest and open debate regarding the real problems that confront our daily lives – record crime, the spiraling cost of health care, the absence of a living wage for many and providing a quality education for our children – to devote precious resources and time to address unsavory and completely false accusations lodged by people motivated by hate and whose livelihood is totally dependent upon their ability to create rancor and division among us.

Unfortunately, the type of attack spewed forth upon me and my family has become all too common in the political arena. Time and time again good, hard-working men and women who seek public office are routinely and unfairly vilified by mean-spirited people who on many occasions, as is the case here, cannot even cast a vote in the election. The people who launch these attacks often believe that they can cleverly cloak their true malevolent motives in some benevolent purpose.

For instance, we saw it in the alleged “whitewater” investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton by attorney Ken Starr and the Republican controlled Congress. We saw it again during the 2004 presidential election when the “swift-boat” folks published lies all over this country assailing the military record of John Kerry. The one common theme throughout each of these attacks and many others is that the people doing the attacking have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. A status quo which, in our community, is unfortunately becoming synonymous with corruption.

One of the lessons I have taught my children, as you perhaps have taught yours, is to have the courage of their convictions. My convictions, faith and hopes for this City are strong. I believe that we can elect public servants who place the public’s interest ahead of their personal interest; I believe we can solve the challenges preventing us from providing healthcare to all children and the uninsurable; I believe we can provide a quality public education to our children that equips them to one day lead this City; and I believe that our City has its best days ahead.

It is said that you have to “answer a fool according to his folly.” So here is a brief response to the allegations.

During my tenure as City Attorney, Fields harbored the mistaken illusion that his “support” of my appointment to that position entitled him to freebies, gifts and favorable dealings from the City. He was wrong. When he came with his hand out, I sent him away empty handed. Ultimately, because of his repeated unethical requests, and frankly, his unstable behavior, I was forced to call building security and permanently ban him from my office.

The decision I made not to allow Fields to use the City for his own distorted purposes and to not pay him for work he had not earned was the right decision. The City Attorney’s office was not for sale when I had the privilege of leading it. That was my conviction then and it is my conviction now.

Fields claims that I am dangerous because of “bad legal advice.” The obvious question is: How would Fields know what legal advice I have ever given to a client? Lawyers give privileged and confidential advice to clients. Since Fields has never been my client and I refused to hire him as a lawyer for the City, he knows absolutely nothing about the private discussions I have had with clients. Therefore, his claim that he “knows” what legal advice I have given clients is a total and complete fabrication.

Additionally, the specific accusations he makes in his letter are either out-right lies, half-truths, or fabrications.

1) When I was the City Attorney I did not lose the BellSouth litigation – I WON IT;

2) I had not been appointed as the City Attorney when the Cook Convention Center expansion project began and had no involvement in selecting the architect or making the architectural contract;

3) When I retired from the City I had already been in private practice for almost twenty (20) years and I did not solicit any legal work from the City – the City sought the legal services of my law firm; and

4) I had no direct involvement in the construction of the garage at the FedEx Forum, as it was built by the Public Building Authority and the State of Tennessee.

Because I have demonstrated the highest ethical standards throughout my legal career, I serve as a hearing panel member on the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility and have the responsibility of policing other lawyers to ensure that they adhere to the ethical standards that govern the practice of law in this state. Fields intentionally neglected to tell you this.

Fields is correct about one thing. If the voters of Senate District 30 give me the privilege of serving them as their Senator, Richard Fields and others of his ilk should be very afraid – afraid that backroom political dealings to manipulate elections in District 30 to benefit their own self interest over public good will be over; afraid that the spigot of dollars and other favors will be turned off; afraid that the unfettered access they have enjoyed in the past will be denied; afraid that more men and women of good character and high moral values will run for public office; and afraid that an honest day’s pay will require an honest day’s work.

Again, I wish you had not been subjected to the illogical rantings of Fields and that this diversion had not occurred. However, it did afford me the opportunity to have this heart-to-heart discussion with you and to show you that the undersigned highly respected attorneys are just a few of those willing to attest to my integrity and character in the practice of law in the great State of Tennessee.

May God continue to bless each of you.



Sincerely,



Robert L. J. Spence, Jr.



————————————————

Attorneys for Robert Spence

We the undersigned attorneys, licensed and practicing in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, hereby state that we know Robert Spence as a highly competent and ethical attorney who is well qualified to serve in the State Senate from District 30.

Bill Anderson
Lenal Anderson, Jr.
Jeff Atchley
Danese Banks
Richard D. Bennett
Michelle L. Betserai
William Bomar
Patti C. Bowlan
Virginia P. Bozeman
Louis P. Britt, II
Retired Judge George Brown
John R. Cannon,Jr.
Keith Carlton
Charles E. Carpenter, Sr.
Miriam L. Clemons
Christopher H.Crain
Sam L. Crain, Jr.
Chandley Crawford
James Curry
Melanie H. Curry
Peter J. Dauster
Michael G. Derrick
Marc Diaz
Gerald F. Easter
Alex C. Elder
Shannon Elsea
John M. Farris
Gaylan C. Fitzpatrick
W. Bradley Gilmer
Regina Guy
Rob B. C. Hale
William H. Haltom, Jr.
W. Timothy Hayes, Jr.
Gwen Hewitt
Gina Higgins
John A.Irvine
Curtis Johnson
Florence Johnson
Christopher Jones
Les Jones
Malandria King
Karen S. Koplon
Jeannie Kosciolek
Sandra Loy
Milton Magee
George W. Maiden
Reed L. Malkin
Jonathan T. Martin
Bruce McMullen
Warren McWhirter
Michael Montesi
Charles F. Morrow
Evan Nahmias
Brandi Parrish
Lori H. Patterson
Jerome Payne
Reid R. Phillips
Jerry O. Potter
Michael Rafferty
Jeffrey S. Rosenblum
Steffen Schreiner
Teresa J. Sigmon
George E. Skouteris, Jr.
Michael C. Skouteris
Edward Stanton
Christopher L. Taylor
Carrie C. Thomas
Nikki Tinker
Shannon Toon
Bradley E. Trammell
Allan Wade
William B. Walk, Jr.
Charles G. Walker
Art Wells
Scott Willhite
Ricky Wilkins
Stacey Winkler
LangWiseman
Kristina A. Woo
Gregory A. Ziskind

yellow dog dem said...

Another testimonial to the character and abilities of Robert L.J. Spence, Jr. and a basis to support his candidacy in the Democratic Primary for the office of State Senator from District 30.

Dear Voters of District 30:

Last week you received correspondence from Richard Fields which unfairly criticized and maligned a good friend of mine, Robert Spence.

Richard Fields does not know Robert Spence. I know Robert Spence. By virtue of having worked closely with him as CAO of the City of Memphis, I know that Robert’s legal skills are superb, his judgment is sound, and his intellect is keen.

I also, by virtue of 22 years in city government, have had an opportunity to observe many lawyers who worked as City Attorney and in my opinion, Robert Spence was clearly one of the best our city has ever had. The City of Memphis was lucky to have him and the residents of State Senate District 30 will be fortunate to have him in Nashville representing their interests.

Beyond that, I want to tell you that I know for a fact that the things Richard Fields asserts in his letter are not only erroneous, they are outright lies. Robert’s credibility is above reproach. His efforts helped move Memphis forward in a positive direction and I am pleased to have served with him.

Further, I do not understand why Robert’s opponent has not disavowed the letter unless, in fact, she was complicit in it. It offends me to see political campaigns run in this fashion. This vindictive public attack is enough to turn any fair-minded person’s stomach. Her silence on the matter speaks volumes.

I urge you to look at the good things that Robert Spence has done in and for our community and vote for him this Thursday, January 25th as your choice for State Senate District 30.

Thank you,

Rick Masson