Pay Bills

Emails show manager wanted to avoid buying insurance for taxpayer-funded scheme

NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – When it rains heavily on Bradfield Drive, backyards turn into streams of water.

Emails obtained by WSMV4 Investigates written by City Commissioner Lisa Garramone show in July 2021 that she pushed for a flood wall to be built in the neighborhood to keep water away from homes.

A review of FEMA maps shows that five houses on the street, which were previously not in flood plains, are now considered to be in a flood zone.

Nolensville floodplain map(Photo submitted)

One of the five houses belongs to Garramone.

The early submission to pay for the project: $380,000.

While Garramone eventually revealed her home was on Bradfield Drive, emails obtained by WSMV4 Investigates shows she wrote privately that she wanted to avoid paying personal flood insurance by having the flood wall installed.

“We really need it built so we can start the process with FEMA to get off the (floodplain) list before it hits Feb 2022 so we don’t have to pay the ridiculous flood insurance,” Garramone wrote to City Manager Victor Lay in July 2021.

WSMV4 Investigates showed the emails to Larry Gardner, a citizen who opposed the flooding project.

“It’s only going to help a few people,” Gardner said. “We have a lot of areas in this community that are flooding more often and worse. I think it’s a favorite project to help a few people. to try to avoid paying flood insurance.

In August 2021, Garramone wrote: “Can we work to accelerate this? Several homeowners are hoping this wall will be installed in time so they don’t waste another $650 to $900 on flood insurance, and their policies arrive in December.

After Garramone ghosted WSMV4 for an interview to discuss the ticket-rigging scandal in which his ticket was dismissed by Chief of Police Roddy Parker, Garramone agreed to answer our questions.

“I think it comes down to perception,” WSMV4 Investigates said.

“I completely understand that,” Garramone said.

“You are a commissioner. And this email – it’s very clear that you want to protect your belongings by spending a lot of taxpayer money,” WSMV Investigates said.

“To be fair, when the cost of that wall came back, I agreed with the rest of the commission that we weren’t going to spend that kind of money,” Garramone said.

“At the time (the email was sent), you thought it would save you from paying flood insurance,” WSMV4 Investigates said.

“Correct. Wait a second, let me guide you,” Garramone said.

She then explained that when she and her neighbors bought in 2016, they had no idea FEMA would later place them in a floodplain.

Garramone said she thought the floodwall would restore her and her neighbors, before realizing it wouldn’t ultimately remove them from the floodplain. Garramone also said the flood wall would protect the street infrastructure itself, because if floodwaters damaged the road and its culvert, then the city would have to pay for it.

Responding to criticism that she has spent so much time trying to advance the flood wall project for her own benefit, Garramone said she is also working to secure flood mitigation projects for others. citizens.

But none of this erases the fact that at the time she sent the email, she was likely to personally benefit from a taxpayer-funded project.

“I get why it sounds like that in email, when you look at the dollars and cents, it’s not financial gain. It would make people whole and take them back to where they started,” Garramone said.

WSMV4 Investigates had additional questions for Garramone about the ticket-fixing scandal, including that she knew her ticket had been thrown out by Police Chief Roddy Parker but said nothing.

Garramone answers these questions on WSMV4 at 10.