published Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Greg Vital’s vile tactics disgust

Another day, another allegation of dirty campaigning against Greg Vital.

On July 25, this page endorsed Vital in the Republican primary for the open 10th District state Senate seat, but we expressed our concern about his “win-at-all-cost mentality.” Since that time, that win-at-all-cost attitude has turned Vital from a promising candidate into a loathsome embarrassment.

The Times Free Press reported on Monday that “an official complaint has been filed with the U.S. attorney’s office accusing state Senate candidate Greg Vital’s campaign of voter tampering and potential fraud.”

Colby Knecht, president of the Hamilton County Young Democrats, and Paul Smith, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party allege that workers for Vital’s campaign packed black residents into vans, drove them to polling locations and then encouraged them to vote for Vital during early voting.

The website Nooga.com published a picture, taken by Knecht, of an empty white van emblazoned with Vital campaign’s signs outside a polling location. Smith, in a phone interview, claims that the photo was taken after the van’s driver led a group of black voters inside, asked them to pick Republican primary ballots and urged them to vote for Vital.

On top of the more serious voter tampering and fraud charges, the van was parked within 100 feet of the voting precinct, another violation of voting laws since the van was adorned with campaign signs.

The Vital campaign denied the Democrats’ allegations of campaign workers escorting voters into polling places and attempting to influence their vote.  

Smith’s response? “Vital couldn’t remember if he graduated from college, so I’m not surprised he can’t remember his involvement in this, either.”

Not a bad point, actually.

At a May 31 candidate forum sponsored by the Hamilton County Young Republicans, Vital claimed that he “finished up” Southern Adventist University in 1979. It turns out that Vital never actually graduated.

When asked about his false claim that he graduated college, Vital told Times Free Press reporter Chris Carroll, that the remark was “a Freudian slip” and “a mistake.”

Everybody is entitled to a mistake, right?

It turns out, however, that Vital’s college claim appears less of a mistake and more of a pattern of lies.

Carroll identified other instances in which Vital was identified as a graduate of Southern Adventist University, including a 2011 profile and interview in Blush Magazine, a local women’s magazine, and website for Bragg Point condominiums in Missionary Ridge — a project Vital co-developed.

Vital admitted that he may have provided the false information about his educational background to the creators of the website, but was unwilling to say for sure.

He was also initially unwilling to say for sure whether his campaign had any involvement in sending a mailer to 10th District voters featuring a copy of a 1997 protective order against Republican primary opponent Todd Gardenhire. Rather than turning voters against Gardenhire, the mailer made the Vital campaign, who many assumed were behind the mail piece, look like it was playing dirty.

Several days after the outrage over the mail piece began, and two days after Vital refused to deny his campaign’s involvement in sending the mailer, Vital’s spokesman Rob Alderman finally issued a news release stating, “Neither Greg nor anyone associated with this campaign had anything to do with the mailing of those public documents.”

While it isn’t yet known if the Vital campaign had any role in the mailer, it wouldn’t surprise many political insiders who have watched Vital’s candidacy play out.

A Republican state lawmaker from outside the Chattanooga area told this page that when Vital was considering running for the 10th District state Senate seat, he used his personal wealth to intimidate other would-be candidates from entering the race.

According to the legislator, Vital told both Gardenhire and Vince Dean, who represents East Ridge in the state house and was considering running for the open Senate seat, “I’ve got more money than God, so don’t bother running.”

This callous and arrogant threat to buy the election appears to be the one thing that Vital has not changed his story on. According to state campaign finance records, he has poured $125,000 of his own money into his campaign.  

At the end of the day, there are more accusations against Vital and his campaign than proof. But when Vital’s list of alleged offenses may include: corrupt campaigning, misrepresenting his education, coordinating — and then denying involvement with — a dodgy mail piece, and threatening and intimidating his would-be opponents, it’s hard to believe that there’s not some fire associated with all that smoke.

Greg Vital may make a fine state senator, but the 10th District voters should ask themselves if they want to be represented by someone who does not appear to be a decent person.  

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aae1049 said...

Drafting a thank you, thank you, thank you, letter to Gerber and the owner of the TFP for hiring an Editor willing to tell the truth for a change.

If Vince Dean says it true, it is. I detest Political Bullies , always have, and what makes anyone think he will act differently if elected.

August 1, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

But "Slip and Slide" Vital (according to his advertisements) is a "Man of God." Doesn't that give him the Divine Right to lie and cheat to win an election?

August 1, 2012 at 8:03 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It's also comforting to know that if God needs a loan, Vital can be his banker. Vital can give Him that special "Christian" discount of 4% above prime.

I also find it amusing that Vital touts himself as a "free market" advocate while Vital made his money sucking down Medicare funds in his "nursing home" business.

But with God on your payroll, you can say anything. Just ask Tom Delay and Scooter Libby.

August 1, 2012 at 8:34 a.m.
ldurham said...

If the voters elect the evil, inter-connected duo of Vital and Fleischmann, which they probably will...they get what they deserve.

August 1, 2012 at 9 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Lesliesmart,

I would hardly call that "endorsement," an endorsement. It seemed more like they were holding their nose.

Instead of addressing any one of the issues and facts raised, you name call one of our best legislators, Vince Dean, and accuse a highly conservative Editor of conspiring with Dems, yeah right.

Explain the issues raised in the editorial.

August 1, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.
Facts said...

Bulleye's award goes to LDurham. The Bible-thumpers that got Flieshcmann elected by lying & stealing personnel files is the exact same group working in the Greg Vital campaign. These birds of a feather are the exact same - the win-at-all-cost-for-power-flock. Disgusting. If you need to know why there's a Tea Party just look at this crowd. I'm glad I left the local GOP and all the frauds who are the same as the enemy they claim to fight.

August 1, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
KimG said...

At least he's not threatening and intimidating his wife.

August 1, 2012 at 9:37 a.m.
Facts said...

KimG, Your sarcasm shows you obviously know of other similarities between Flieschmann and Vital.

August 1, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

KimG said: "At least he's not threatening and intimidating his wife."

Isn't that one of Vital's campaign slogans?

August 1, 2012 at 9:44 a.m.
FreePressEditor said...

Allow me to use my editor's prerogative to correct one point that several commenters have made. I spoke with neither Vince Dean or Todd Gardenhire about this piece or the "more money than God quote." It was told to me by several state lawmakers and GOP leaders, and confirmed by the one quoted in the piece. I haven't spoken with Vince Dean in years, so I want readers to know that he was in no way a source for the passage that referenced him.

August 1, 2012 at 10:15 a.m.
aae1049 said...

We stand corrected.

August 1, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

I never thought it was possible for me to have much if any sympathy for the Chickenhawk Gardenhire but I do now. If Vital wins, his ethics and morals will fit perfectly with the other knuckle dragging mouthbreathers in the TN legislature.

August 1, 2012 at 10:44 a.m.
Tnmom24 said...

Slinging accusations based on" someone told me,that someone told them,that someone said".... And.... adding multiple unfounded accusations in a manner that leads readers to assume that these blistering accusations have been proven as fact,is not journalism,and I am disappointed in the TFP.This type of sensationalism is better suited for gossip papers. GREG VITAL has been nothing but a positive force in our community and to be treated as"guilty until proven innocent"with labels of indecent and disgusting is a travesty the journalism ad True and stooping to rip apart,and a member of ourcommunityreporting in

August 1, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.
Tnmom24 said...

Slinging accusations based on" someone told me,that someone told them,that someone said".... And.... adding multiple unfounded accusations in a manner that leads readers to assume that these blistering accusations have been proven as fact,is not journalism,and I am disappointed in the TFP. This type of sensationalism is better suited for gossip papers. GREG VITAL has been nothing but a positive force in our community, and to be treated as"guilty until proven innocent",and to have highly judgemental labels attached to him by the TFP reporters,IS EXTREMELY UNETHICAL. TFP, read your Ethics Policy!! In my opinion,you owe Mr. Vital an apology...Some of your staff appear more interested in publishing their opinions as News Fact,and as a TFP reader,I find that INDECENT AND DISGUSTING(TO USE THEIR WORDS)

August 1, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

TNmom24,

You mean that Vital didn't lie about his college degree for 30 years? That his deceit is a positive force in the community?

How often does a TFP endorsement one week become a "Greg Vital’s Vile Tactics Disgust" editorial the next?

August 1, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

Disputing the words of the TFP?

That won't go over well.

They hate being challenged.

August 1, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
bret said...

At least there is one candidate who doesn't lie about his education, has actual college degrees, is honest and knows the issues that face Tennesseans, and loves his wife and children.
Andrae McGary will be getting my vote.

August 1, 2012 at 6:31 p.m.
Facts said...

Leslie not so smart, I applaud the Free Press. The old page would have never had the backbone to address this. What I think folks like you are fearful of is that a new guy is in town with no obligations and appears to be willing to keep his own party accountable. Not for sale my dear. You're only sad your little group was busted.

August 1, 2012 at 9:48 p.m.

Finally.....the Free Press says it like it is. One of the criteria for a narcissist from DSM-IVr is to claim high achievement while not actually earning it. That's you Vital.

And Chuck??? He's been such a disappointment. Nothing like having an establishment-hand in the back of our freshman congressman.

August 2, 2012 at 12:26 a.m.
joneses said...

Vital does not appear to be a credible candidate if all this is true. My question is why would someone take a picture of the van allegedly used to transport black voters while it was empty? Why would they not take a picture while these allegedly black voters were entering or exiting the van? Would that not be better proof? Also when did a dummycrat ever be against transporting black voters to vote? By the way the Times supports Greg Vital. Maybe the Times supports Greg Vital because of his ability to transport blacks to the polls. This is a strange article.

August 2, 2012 at 6:17 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Drew Johnson, you are awesome.

Don't let the power structure beat ya down. I believe Andrae McGary and Todd Gardenhire, because I have watched the Vital campaign, and they are bullies, Saltsman want-a-bes, minus the IQ.

Sadly, the Vital camp could have acted like adults with their "more money than God" funding, and still would have won the race. I guess if you are use to bull dozing people for wealth, stomping anyone in your way, it is hard to change.

It is interesting how these so called conservatives, acquired extraordinary wealth on HUD or Medicare business models. It is too easy to make money off the GoverMint, taxpayer money so easy to take.

The majority of people are thrilled to have an editor with backbone, that is more committed to truth than the interests of the power structure.

Wha Hoo!! keep up the great work.

August 2, 2012 at 7:19 a.m.
joneses said...

aae1049

When did a democrat ever care about someone making money and mooching off the government? I guess you find it okay if one is a democrat but disgusting if one is a Republican. Another fine example of liberal hypocrisy.

August 2, 2012 at 7:31 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Jones, my point had nothing to do with political party.I detest both parities equally. My point was that it is somewhat a contradiction in terms to scream, small GovernMint, when your business model is completely reliant on HUD or Medicare funds.

August 2, 2012 at 7:39 a.m.
joneses said...

aae

Then instead of saying "It is interesting how these so called conservatives acquired extraordinary wealth on HUD or Medicare business models. It is too easy to make money off the GoverMint, taxpayer money so easy to take." You could have said ""It is interesting how these so called conservatives and democrats acquired extraordinary wealth on HUD or Medicare business models. It is too easy to make money off the GoverMint, taxpayer money so easy to take."

Do you agree?

August 2, 2012 at 7:56 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Yes sire e I do, for people that feel a need to politicize a point.

August 2, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.

I voted GOP this time simply to vote for Gardenhire, since anyone other than Vital can and should win. However, Andre..... you've got my vote in the general election.

August 2, 2012 at 8:03 a.m.
joneses said...

aae1049

Actually you politicized your point by only mentioning conservatives. If you did not want to politicize your point you could have substituted "conservatives" with "politicians". By mentioning only one political party you appear biased.

August 2, 2012 at 8:11 a.m.

The TFP better have some real resources in order to back up their accusations. And the comment above by the FreePressEditor is pretty weak.

The TFP endorsement one week then this vile attack? What is going on at the TFP?

August 3, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.
LarryRose said...

Some readers have been asking, "Where are the real resources to back up their accusations?"

This proof is located just to the north of Chattanooga, in the suburb of Collegedale: "Greenbriar Cove is a master planned retirement community specially designed for active adults ages 55 and older." (http://www.seegreenbriarcove.com)

Prior to 2003, these "100 picturesque acres in a valley at the base of White Oak Mountain in the Collegedale-Ooltewah area" (http://www.seegreenbriarcove.com) served as a nature reserve. The abundant spring-fed wetlands were very popular with waterfowl, and especially migratory birds.

CYNICAL GREED

But then billionaire real estate developer Greg Vital got to thinking: “Why should birds be living there, when I can’t make any money off them?”

MAXIMIZING PROFITS WHILE MINIMIZING LOT SIZES

So he picked up the parcel (for a song), and laid out luxury homesites.

Back in 2003. In the meantime, Greg Vital has sold quite a few houses to senior citizens — the 55+ crowd.

He told them the place was so beautiful, so luxurious, and so convenient to it all.

Greg just forgot to mention the wetlands.

HE WAS OH SO SLICK

Which didn’t mean that these vulnerable senior citizens didn’t found about them. Just too late.

They bought their wetlands houses, and in short order discovered that water was seeping up into the crawlspaces — lots of water.

DENY EVERYTHING

And so they complained to Greg Vital. Who told them that the ground at Greenbriar Cove contains absolutely no water. A falsehood, as you can see from the pictures at http://kanjen.wordpress.com

Nobody believed him, but seeing as the billionaire developer wasn’t about to provide compensation to the victims of his scheme, they had to shoulder the costs of waterproofing, drainage, sump pumps, etc., out of their social security payments.

HE MADE OUT LIKE A BANDIT

Business was so good for Vital, and so bad for the senior citizens, that in 2012, Vital boasted that he “more money than God”.

Who knows how many senior citizens got ripped off to make this huge fortune possible?

SET HIS SITES ON AN ELECTED OFFICE

Greg started to worry about legal action, so he decided to run for the State Senate — to get parliamentary immunity.

He spent $500,000 of his own money on the Republican primary for State Senate — and lost anyway.

HIS REPUTATION DID HIM IN

Because word of what he’d done to senior citizens at Greenbriar Cove had gotten around, the voters weren’t about to let Mr. Vital do them too.

September 13, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
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