UPDATE: Following the resignation of Mayor Chris Jones, Mount Carmel Alderman Carl Wolfe has also submitted his resignation.
Wolfe submitted his resignation during a work session Thursday evening. The board of mayor and aldermen will have to accept his resignation at its next meeting to make it official.
A writ of ouster has been filed by the town attorney and district attorney’s office. If the board accepts the resignation of Jones and Wolfe, Mount Carmel town attorney John E. Pevy says the ousting proceedings will be nullified.
“It brings me no joy to do this it is my duty as an officer of the court under Tennessee law to institute these proceedings when actions of this nature occur,” Pevy said.
In his announced resignation, Wolfe acknowledged that he did sign the eviction notice, but did not know it was fake or that it had the town seal already printed on it.
“To keep from embarrassing the town or anything else, I wish to withdraw as Alderman in the town of Mount Carmel at this time,” Wolfe said.
A small number of town citizens attended the work session, and witnessed Wolfe give his resignation. Larry Frost, a resident of Mount Carmel of over 40 years, sees this as a fresh start.
“There’s a lot of good people in this town and this is a wonderful little place to live I’ve lived here over 40 years and we’re looking forward to this town healing with some new leadership now and going forward,” Frost said.
MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. (WJHL) — Mount Carmel Mayor Chris Jones has submitted his resignation, according to City Manager Mike Housewright.
Housewright says Jones will not be officially removed from office until town aldermen vote on it, which is expected to happen at a meeting next week.
This comes after the town attorney and district attorney filed writs of ouster against Jones and an alderman seeking their removal from office due to alleged official misconduct. Jones and alderman Carl Wolfe are accused of creating a fake eviction notice in an attempt to evict Jones’s live-in girlfriend, Amber Hale.
Jones was arrested last month for domestic assault against Hale. Jones and Hale had been renting a house from Wolfe. Court documents say the mayor was effectively homeless after this arrest.
Mount Carmel Alderman Jim Gilliam said he has told the mayor to resign in the past.
“He’s been on a pretty good crime spree. I mean, I just have to say that. Because it’s public, you know,” Gilliam told News Channel 11.
The writ said Jones and Wolfe created a “Notice to Vacate” on Jones’ office desktop, which is owned by the town. Jones then requested the town’s official seal to stamp it with. Jones allegedly said in the presence of Mount Carmel police officers the seal was to make it “look more official.”
Jones allegedly put the seal on the unlawful eviction in the presence of Wolfe, the city administrator, and a Mount Carmel police officer. Court documents said the officer and town administrator weren’t fully aware of the situation at the time.
Wolfe signed the notice and posted it on the door of the home that Hale was living in, according to the writ of ouster.
Alderman Gilliam said Wolfe doesn’t deserve to be ousted after serving on the BMA for around 20 years with “a perfect record.”
“They should leave Carl alone. He made a mistake, and he admits that he made a mistake by signing them and not paying attention to what he was signing and didn’t read it,” said Gilliam.
News Channel 11 reached out to Wolfe on Thursday, and he declined to comment. Jones could also not be reached for comment.
With Jones resigning, vice mayor Jennifer Williams is expected to take his place.
“I want to service the community and assure the residents that even though this is something that’s tragic, we will move forward and we will continue,” said Williams.
Housewright told News Channel 11 Wolfe had not submitted any resignation as of Thursday afternoon.
The city manger issued the following statement to News Channel 11:
“While the present situation is regrettable, it should be stated that it is no way reflective of Mount Carmel as a whole. We have a great community with wonderful citizens and many reasons to feel optimistic about the opportunities that lay on our horizon.“
– Mike Housewright, Mount Carmel City Manager
Jones was arrested this month on criminal simulation and impersonation charges.
In March, Kingsport police officers say they found Jones outside of a motel room with lacerations and blood covering his torso and shorts. Jones reportedly told police that he fell on a knife. Officers found Hale at the scene, who reportedly told them she had been staying with Jones at the hotel.
A grand jury indicted Jones in February after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said he stole thousands of dollars from his grandmother and her estate.
This is a developing story. Look for updates on WJHL.com.