NASHVILLE - The publisher of the Macon County Chronicle in court documents is disputing assertions made by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, that she owes the lawmaker principal and interest on a $50,000 loan used to purchase the newspaper.
Rather, Kathryne Belle allges in her Wilson County Chancery Court response there was no loan and that Beavers had joined an investors group and "invested" the money in the newspaper on May 26, 2010.
"This investment was funded through a cashier's check issued by Cedarstone Bank, payable to Main Street Media LLC from Choice Community Newspapers LLC," Belle's attorneys state in their response, filed today.
"Co-plaintiff Mae Beavers delivered said cashier's check to Defendant Belle for the specific purpose of investing in the venture and to make payment of the May 21, 2010 installment [payment] due to Main Street Media for purchase of the Macon County Chronicle," the filing says.
It also alleges that Lou Ann Zelnick, a Republican who made a failed 2010 GOP 6th Congressional District primary bid, "invested" $36,000 in the newspaper venture as well.
Former Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, recently contended in a posting on her Facebook page that the loan or investment came around the time the newspaper began attacking her in her bitter, 2010 GOP Senate primary battle with Beavers.
Lynn has also questioned whether the $50,000 payment was an investment rather than a loan.
Speaking to the Times Free Press Monday night, Beavers, the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the lawsuit a "personal matter."
Asked about suggestions the money was not a loan but an investment, Beavers said, "I don't believe that's what the lawsuit said."
Beavers said "yes" when asked if the $50,000 was intended as a loan.
Meanwhile, Beavers on Monday filed an amended Statement of Interests form with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Her original State of Interests form, filed Jan. 30, did not mention the loan or the 6 percent her lawsuit cites as interest under the category "sources of income."
Her new filing lists "Kathryne Bell - pass through interest on personal loan - no actual income."
It also lists Bell's nephew, John Cook, with the explanation "pass through interest on personal loan - no actual income."