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Trial date set in former Tenn. House Speaker Casada's case over involvement in kickback scheme

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WPLN
/
File

A trial date of Oct. 25 has been set for Tennessee’s former House Speaker Glen Casada.

The Williamson County Republican pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court to involvement in a kickback scheme that funneled money from the General Assembly. Casada is facing charges alongside his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren.

Cothren is alleged to be the man behind a political consulting company, Phoenix Solutions, that defrauded the State of Tennessee of thousands of dollars. The company was established in 2019 under the fictitious name Matthew Phoenix to hide Cothren’s involvement. Casada then used his status in the General Assembly to influence members to hire Phoenix Solutions to handle mail service for members and political campaigns.

According to federal prosecutors, the company submitted sham invoices to the state, secretly funneled state money through the company’s bank accounts, and engaged in bribery and kickback schemes.

Cade and Casada are accused of receiving nearly $52,000 from the state mailer program in 2020. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.  

The FBI has been building the case for some time now. In January 2021, they searched the offices and homes of Casada and three other Republican lawmakers: Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson; Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston; and Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill.

During the last legislative session, several members of the General Assembly were subpoenaed in the case. Smith resigned from her position before pleading guilty to wire fraud. 

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.