FBI agents raid store owned by South Pittsburg former mayor

FBI agents raid store owned by South Pittsburg former mayor

January 17th, 2013 by Judy Walton in Local Regional News

Mike Killian

Photo by Ben Benton/Times Free Press.

FBI agents seized suspected gambling machines Tuesday from a South Pittsburg store owned by the town's former mayor, who also is the brother of East Tennessee's U.S. attorney.

James Michael "Mike" Killian is listed in property records as owner of the Lotto Mart at 519 E. 12th St., where FBI agents spent hours Tuesday and left with a truck loaded with equipment, witnesses said. Employees in the Marion County clerk's office said Killian also holds the business license for Lotto Mart Inc. at that address.

Killian could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Messages left at his other business, Killian's Fireworks, were not immediately returned, and his landline phone has been disconnected.

His brother is Bill Killian, who has served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee since 2010. A message left at his office Wednesday was not returned.

FBI spokesman Marshall Stone, in the Knoxville office, said Wednesday that agents were at the Lotto Mart for "probably a couple of hours," but he wouldn't say what kind of evidence was seized or give any details about the investigation.

South Pittsburg Police Chief Dale Winters and Marion County Mayor John Graham both said Wednesday they didn't know anything about the raid and no local officers were involved.

South Pittsburg residents, though, described agents loading video machines into a yellow Penske truck at the Lotto Mart.

The Lotto Mart was one of three businesses that FBI agents hit Tuesday. The others were the Lil Store, 3644 Valley View Highway in Sequatchie, Tenn., and Richard City Food Market, 308 19th St., in Richard City, Tenn.

State records show the Lil Store property is owned by Nancy Hasting, of Sequatchie. County records show she also holds the business license for the store.

Michael and Richard Massey hold the business license for the Richard City Food Market, which sits on a lot owned by Delores Massey, state and county records show. All the Masseys were listed as living in South Pittsburg.

Neither Hasting nor any of the Masseys could be reached Wednesday for comment.

Stone said the raiders were "following up on a criminal investigation going on for some time." He said no arrests were made and no other details would be released "until court documents are unsealed later." He said he didn't know when that would be, and the clerk for U.S. District Court in Chattanooga said no documents had been returned as of Wednesday afternoon.

Killian, who also owns a wholesale and retail fireworks business, was elected mayor of South Pittsburg in 2004 and served two terms. He did not seek re-election in November 2012.

He was elected to the Marion County Commission in 1980, at age 23, but lost his re-election bid in 1984. He ran again in 2002 and served one term as 1st District commissioner.