Quietly, several of the public officials indicted and convicted as a result of the FBI’s “Tennessee Waltz” sting are back in circulation — some of them picking up their social and public connections where they left off.
The latest to do so is former state Representative Kathryn Bowers, who is finishing up her federal term in a Memphis halfway house. This week she alerted the people on her once thriving email network that she’s helping the Memphis Center for Independent Living raise money by selling $10 tickets to an MCIL fundraising spaghetti supper in June.
Bowers’ email — sent from the same email address which, in shorthand, once identified her as a member of the state legislature — includes the following update: “I am presently during volunteer work with the center. This fundraiser is one of many ways we raise money to continue efforts in areas of housing, transportation, community access and assisting people to regain or retain their lives in the community. We offer peer counseling, help others with disabilities learn new ways to do daily activities such as cooking, using a computer, budgeting or advocating for changes in our community. We need your help to achieve these needed activities.”
Among the other released Tennessee Waltz convictees are former Shelby County Commissioner Michael Hooks Sr. and former Memphis School Board member Michael Hooks Jr. Both have completed their federal sentences.
The senior Hooks has resumed his work as a real estate appraiser. The younger Hooks has done part-time work with Shelby County Government, counseling prisoners at the county Corrections Center, and is currently involved with the NAACP’s Hip Hop Caucus, which oversees a variety of public-service activities.
The Tennessee Waltz sting, which employed FBI agents masquerading as computer entrepreneurs and passing cash to gain favors with public officials, was the precursor to a series of other such locally originated federal operations.