Rhea County Executive George Thacker was cited with patronizing a prostitute during an undercover sting by the Knoxville Police Department on Friday, according to police spokesman Derrell DeBusk.
Thacker, 48, is accused of offering a female undercover officer $50 in exchange for a sexual favor while at the corner of Tyson Street and Bernard Avenue near downtown Knoxville, DeBusk said.
Knoxville officers cited Thacker for the Class B misdemeanor, although he was not taken into custody immediately. The county executive is scheduled to report to the Knox County Jail on May 20. According to the Herald-News, Thacker is expected to be booked and then released immediately without having to post a bond.
“I don’t know anything about it,” said Ronnie Raper, chairman of the Rhea County Commission on Monday evening. “The way I understand it, it is a misdemeanor, not a felony. I have not spoken with George Thacker today.”
Rhea County Commissioner Bill Holland said “the county [business] will go on,” with several meetings scheduled in the next two days.
Thacker was sworn in as executive last September. He has been a longtime businessman and developer in the area.
According to his website, he owns three Express Lubes in Dayton and Crossville. He recently developed the Howard Johnson’s Hotel in Spring City, Tenn.
Thacker could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
Correspondent Kimberly McMillian contributed to this story.