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Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd speaks about his plan to reallocate $4 million from the county budget during a meeting with the Times Free Press editorial board on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A complaint filed by the challenger in the District 8 Hamilton County Commission race has been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to the local district attorney's office.

Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, said Brent Lambert filed a complaint with the DA's office against Tim Boyd. She said the DA's office forwarded the complaint to the TBI.

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East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert attends an event at the Tennessee Riverpark to announce the Mayors' Smoke Free Community initiative on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"They're still investigating and they haven't given us a timetable for when they might finish," Clewell said via email Wednesday.

TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland referred questions to Pinkston's office.

Lambert is trying to unseat Boyd, who is seeking a third term as District 8 commissioner, in the May 1 Republican primary.

Clewell said nothing about the nature of the complaint, but after their March 19 joint appearance at the local Pachyderm Club, Lambert said Boyd had "threatened" him over some campaign contributions.

Lambert accepted $5,000 in June 2017, including $3,000 from three developers working on the big Exit 1 remodel and redevelopment. He used the money to pay off part of a $9,100 debt left over from his 2014 re-election campaign as East Ridge mayor.

After the March 19 Pachyderm meeting, Lambert said Boyd was set to "release damaging information on me if I did not withdraw. I believe [the contributions] were what he had in mind."

Lambert did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Boyd said at the time that Lambert had called him and raised the issue of the contributions. He said he told Lambert they looked bad, even though they were legal, because Lambert didn't have an active campaign going.

"I didn't threaten him, I asked him to withdraw because I felt like what information was going to be disclosed may not be good for him, his family, his political aspirations or the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum [where Lambert is president and CEO]," Boyd said March 19.

On Wednesday, Boyd said he'd filed an ethics complaint against Lambert with the DA's office a month or so ago, "but I never heard back from them then and I never followed up on it."

He said the complaint against him "doesn't worry me at all" but wondered how the news got out.

"Who's the rumor from? Who corroborated it? Maybe somebody's planting rumors just to get it in the paper," Boyd said.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

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