The chief deputy trustee for the Hamblen County Trustee’s office has resigned amid an ongoing investigation of County Trustee John Baskette.
County Mayor Bill Brittain confirmed Monday that Kendall Lawson, chief deputy trustee for Baskette, put in her resignation letter Friday. The two-sentence letter said her last effective day on the job would be on Aug. 23.
The resignation comes on the heels of Baskette refusing to resign from his position last week under the threat of a grand jury indictment.
There was no indication Monday that the deputy director’s resignation was related to the investigation.
During a Hamblen County audit, released earlier this year, it was indicated that Baskette was responsible for non-criminal money management violations. The state comptroller’s office then launched a more detailed investigation.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations performed a parallel investigation and that investigation uncovered possible criminal charges, officials say.
Baskette has not been charged at this time with any wrongdoing and his attorney, Richard Talley, has maintained his client is innocent of any charges that could be brought against Baskette.
Baskette, Talley and District Attorney General Dan Armstrong met last week to try and come to an agreement on Baskette possibly making a plea deal and resigning from the office, but those negotiations broke down.
If Baskette had resigned, Lawson, as second in command, would have been the official to take over the Trustee’s Office until a replacement for Baskette had been appointed.
According to county records, Lawson had joined the Trustee’s Office in December 2010. She was appointed as Chief Deputy Trustee in April 2014.
Armstrong said Monday he planned to call a special grand jury within the month.
The next meeting of the grand jury was scheduled for September, but Armtrong moved up the timeline.
“I am going to call one in August,” Armstrong said.