Text of Tom Hatcher letter to Commission

November 16, 2006

Dear Mayor Cunningham:

Pursuant to my recent discussions with you, I enclose my personal check made payable to Blount County, Tennessee, in the amount of Three Thousand Nine Hundred Ten Dollars (3,910.00) to reimburse the County for the invoice paid by Blount County on January 14, 2005, to Columbus University. As I indicated to you, I certainly did not realize the problems existed with Columbus University which have recently come to light. It is obvious to me that serious misrepresentations were made to me by Columbus at the time I enrolled in their program. I realize I made an error in judgment in failing to more thoroughly investigate this school before I enrolled.

I have hired local attorney, Craig Garrett, to investigate and pursue Columbus College in an effort to recoup the monies paid to them and to also further expose their unfair and deceptive business practices. I have retained Mr. Garrett with my personal funds and in an effort to limit the burden to the County, I have decided to immediately reimburse the County for the monies extended and pursue this matter personally.

As we discussed, I will be happy to work with you, the County Commission and other office holders to develop a policy that will allow County employees to pursue continuing training and education that hopefully, will prevent any other employee of the County from having a bad experience similar to mine.

It is my intention to contact the Attorney General for the State of Tennessee and make them aware of the practices of Columbus University and hopefully prevent other citizens in Tennessee from being victimized.

Thank you for your willingness to meet with me and discuss this matter. I certainly hope you agree with my approach, which is to reimburse the County and allow me to pursue this matter personally. I know we could have asked the County Attorney to investigate Columbus University and pursue the matter, but inasmuch as I created the circumstances, I certainly feel it is my responsibility to pursue Columbus University and I do not want Blount County burdened with this endeavor.

If you need any further information, feel free to contact me.

With kindest regards, I am

Very Truly Yours,
Thomas E. Hatcher

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