Commissioner Tim Boyd, pictured above, is in a political and legal battle with opponent Brent Lambert. (Photo: Staff)

District 8 County Commission candidate Brent Lambert released his first official statement since his competitor Commissioner Tim Boyd was indicted on extortion charges, which stem from a complaint Lambert made.

Lambert, who is also East Ridge mayor, filed a complaint with Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston, who passed it on to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

According to his indictment, Boyd “unlawfully coerced” Lambert “with the intent to obtain property, services, any advantage or immunity; or restrict another’s freedom of action.”

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The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that Boyd said the legal issues are related to Lambert’s relationship with developers and people connected to the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, which Boyd has criticized.

But it’s unclear exactly what happened to prompt the indictment, which East Ridge Online has more about.

Lambert said in a prepared statement:

My campaign to serve the great citizens of our community began because of my commitment to see East Ridge grow and prosper as a wonderful place to live and raise our families. My work as East Ridge Mayor has reflected that commitment with economic development and job growth. My commitment has been strengthened that District 8 deserves a voice committed to our community, not political grandstanding or theater. I am more committed than ever to the fact that good things can happen if we work together.

The events of recent days are only a snapshot of what has occurred over the last several weeks that have impacted the importance of this race and the very reason that I am a candidate.

I applaud the TBI for doing a thorough investigation into the threats that were made against me, my family, my professional career and political career. The TBI is receiving the full cooperation of me, my family and my campaign. Despite any claims to minimize this situation, the TBI has been thorough and respectful in its fact-finding and presentation of facts to the grand jury that has issued this indictment.

When I was threatened several weeks ago, I felt that I had no recourse but to alert the authorities. Citizens of District 8 are not represented by the backroom bullying that has been the standard approach by the incumbent on any number of issues. Under the premise of “asking the hard questions,” the incumbent has appeared to be an advocate for an accountable government. Ironically, his tactics and behavior demonstrate anything but an accountable government.

I look forward to the evidence that will soon be made available that captures the nature of the threats made against me and the false claims of any wrongdoing in my previous campaigns. I can say with all confidence that nothing that I have done in any campaign past or currently has been illegal.

While the events of the recent days have placed the campaign for County Commission District 8 in the news and the court of public opinion, the TBI investigation will be concluded in a court of law. My personal pledge to the citizens of District 8 is to be a public servant that represents the district and the issues best served by our community. You deserve better.

Boyd released a statement Tuesday calling the indictment politically motivated, according to East Ridge Online News. 

He said:

This action by the District Attorney today is perhaps the most flagrantly political, despicable, desperate thing any of us has ever seen in Hamilton County. It reeks of politics and is exactly the kind of government overreach that voters are sick and tired of. I welcome all the facts around Mr. Lambert’s charges, and I will take my case for re-election to the voters in District 8.

The facts about Mr. Lambert’s taking money from the Exit 1 developers, putting it into his campaign account and then putting it in his pocket are well known. They were public before I talked with Mr. Lambert and I used these FACTS in a mailer to voters this week. Is there any question about the motivations of those involved with this?

My attorney and I will cooperate with the Sheriff and move forward to defend my name and win an election.

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