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Stacy's Music Row Report  All Rights Reserved

 
AN OPEN LETTER TO NASHVILLE'S DISTRICT ATTORNEY GENERAL GLENN FUNK


Dear General Funk:

Nearly a decade ago I met you on the campaign trail, where, laughing as though you were hearing my corny (variations of a) Glenn Funk Railroad “joke” for the first time, you asked for my vote.

I found you very personable and, after doing some research and familiarizing myself with your credentials, I voted for you.

The next time I encountered you was on December 19, 2019, where, in your capacity as Nashville’s District Attorney, you attended then-presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s Nashville rally.

As the rally was winding down I approached you and, reintroducing myself, asked if we might speak at a later date about what I described as a sensitive manner of ongoing concern.

You reached for your cellphone, asked for my phone number and indicated you would return the call the next morning at the time specified.

When you failed to do, I briefly spoke with your assistant Diane Hunt. Ms. Hunt indicated “someone” would get back with me. 

No one did.

Distracted by other pressing concerns, more limited in scope, I directed my energies elsewhere until I decided to take a back door approach, having some brief, but extended, archival records correspondence with a Nashville police department official about what, at times, has been a traumatic matter.

Fast forward to circa May 2021.  After pursuing the matter further with your office I received a call from investigator David Zoccola.  As the D.A.’s office is in the same building as a criminal defense attorney integral to what had transpired with regard to the broader issue at hand, Mr. Zoccola, after first requesting more information, agreed to speak with the attorney whom he described as an acquaintance.

Mr. Zoccola indicated he would initiate the conversation and report back to me on what had transpired, not as my advocate at that point but, as there are at least two sides to every story, more appropriately, on my behalf.

I realized that this “favor” was not a priority matter for Mr. Zoccola, so I was prepared to accept delays.  I not only encountered delays, but, over time, a distancing that increasing appeared to be excuses. 

Mr. Zoccola first indicated he had touched base with the attorney but that, due to poor timing, they’d have to speak again.  After receiving apologies from Mr. Zoccola for the delay and for not returning my phone calls I finally reached the investigator.  All Mr. Zoccola would say at that point, to justify the delays, was that he was of the impression that the attorney was in the process of retiring. 

The Nashville Bar Association confirmed the attorney’s license was active so I called the lawyer’s office.  His assistant told me that the attorney’s retirement was not imminent (and as of this date his license remains active).

After my patience ran out I requested an appointment with you, General Funk.  When I did not receive that appointment, at her suggestion I filed a filed a public records request with Ashley Mondelli, your office’s public records custodian

When, after a reasonable period of time, Ms. Mondelli had yet to respond to my request, I sensed that there was not only an ongoing conversation within your office, the substance of which I did not know,  but also an undercurrent that I could not more precisely define.  Determining cooperation had, for all intents and purposes ceased, having chosen the form’s on site pickup option, I came to your office during normal business hours.

On that afternoon, as I signed in and your office’s receptionist, Mona (who informed me “I don’t give out my last name”) called Ms. Mondelli.  Ms. Mondelli’s response to Mona was that in order to have my request fulfilled I would have to speak with Mr. Zoccola.

At that point, my understanding is that Mona attempted to call Mr. Zoccola.  When Mr. Zoccola did not answer I asked that she call Investigator Randy Martin, with whom I had briefly spoken when Mr. Zoccola was impossible to reach.

Mona was sent to voicemail in both instances.  Subsequently, Terry Wills appeared, identifying himself as an investigator.

Mr. Wills indicated that I had just missed Mr. Zoccola, that the two men had been able to speak and that Mr. Zoccola requested I see him by appointment.

I responded by emailing Mr. Zoccola, indicating that “Since I don't know your schedule, having just left another message on your voicemail to expect this email, I hope you will respond in a timely fashion with some appointment options.  I prefer any day other than Wednesdays and also have a preference for an afternoon appointment, though frankly, I find it highly unusual that public records requests are handled by the District Attorney's office in the manner indicated.”

When Mr. Zoccola finally called me September 17, 2021 at 7:55 a.m. I presumed it was for the purpose of scheduling the appointment upon which I was told Mr. Zoccola insisted as per my conversation with Terry Wills.

Clearly, this was not the case.  I was not prepared for the ambush interview and litany of personal attacks that followed.

Mr. Zoccola described the interchange as "a tortuous phone call."  He indicated that I "twist everything," though he would not respond to my request for specifics, only that "You can email me for the next 50 years and I won't respond."

I then received a letter from Ashley Mondelli indicating she wouldn’t be providing the information I requested because it didn’t exist. That would have been a reasonable response if she hadn’t first suggested otherwise.

In any event if, as Mr. Zoccola now claims, there have been no interoffice memos, written public records, or any other materials that would be available to me from your office via a written public records request, remaining in the possession of Ashley Mondelli, Mr. Zoccola's simply repeating, in writing as I requested, what he told me during his September 17, 2021 phone call re: the substance of his conversations, ostensibly on my behalf, with the lawyer, specifically the statements, in their totality, the attorney made to Mr. Zoccola about the former's history/interactions with me and when they occurred, would be all I would need from him and your office.  (I could not listen as closely as I needed to AND simultaneously take notes about what was the only constructive portion- in that it was incriminating- of Mr. Zoccola's victim-shaming half-hour early morning diatribe.)    

Surely this request is reasonable, not too much to ask, and can be easily accomplished in a short amount of time.

On January 11, 2022 you made a public promise to me, during an appearance on the WTVF-TV subchannel “Morningline” call-in show that, were I to call your office and ask for you, this serious matter, the bungled investigation that I believe resulted in a “leak” contributing to a suicide, would at last be dealt with professionally and with transparency.

I followed your instructions, my call being intercepted by Ms. Hunt who indicated she would deliver my message to you.

My message to you now is this: I suspect I am not the only taxpayer who voted for you, pays your salary but has been disappointed that either your employees- whose salaries we also fund- are either not keeping you informed or that you are sanctioning their behavior.

The evidence seems to support the fact you are not running unopposed.  Indeed, there are two other qualified candidates in the race and you have a mixed vote-of-confidence among your peers, according to a Nashville Bar Association poll.

I have voted in every primary and general local, state and federal election since I first became eligible to vote a half-century ago and, as stated, I would like to consider voting to re-elect you as your campaign ads remind me of your accomplishments while in office.

That said, voters need to know what has been the fallout thus far of a botched ordeal and it shouldn’t take opposition research to bring that to light. It’s never too late to do the right thing and it is more than appropriate during a re-election campaign. Even advantaged by the power of incumbency, it seems like not only the correct, but the pragmatic, thing to do.