E-cigs company buys garment bags for Rutherford County Jail - WSMV Channel 4

E-cigs company buys garment bags for Rutherford County Jail

Posted: Updated: Oct 21, 2015 06:52 PM
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

The Channel 4 I-Team has discovered another unusual purchase for the Rutherford County Jail.

Jails need all kinds of supplies people wouldn't normally think of, including garment bags, where inmates' belongings can be locked up while they're incarcerated.

A large order of lockable bags was purchased for delivery to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, but charged to the credit card of Sheriff Robert Arnold's uncle.

The $7,990 purchased was charged to John Vanderveer.

Vanderveer also co-owns the electronic cigarette company JailCigs that sells to Arnold's inmates.

It is unknown why JailCigs would buy the garment bags for the jail.

Arnold told the I-Team a few weeks ago that JailCigs sometimes bought things for or made donations to the sheriff's office.

"They'll sponsor the rodeo. They'll give to the inmate garden," Arnold said. "If we need something at the jail, they don't mind, or they will just directly send a payment here."

In other counties, including Sumner County, where JailCigs sells to inmates, the county gets a straight percentage of sales.

This is yet another transaction for the jail that seems to fall outside the county's normal procedures. It is the fourth one found by the I-Team.

First, JailCigs opened up for business at the jail without a contract or competitive bidding. Then, the I-Team discovered the sheriff bought stun guns for the jail through a commissary vendor with no bidding.

"It just wasn't carried through the procedures that are required at all," Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said.

The I-Team then found the sheriff signed an exclusive contract without county approval to provide tablet computers for jail inmates.

"My first thoughts were, oh no, here we go again," Burgess said.

Arnold is now the focus of a multi-level investigation.

The I-Team began requesting documents about this latest purchase last week. The company confirmed that two days ago, Arnold put the order on hold.

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