I-Team explores connection between Judge Moreland and halfway ho - WSMV Channel 4

I-Team explores connection between Judge Moreland and halfway houses

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Channel 4 I-Team has learned that a member of the Davidson County General Sessions Drug Court treatment team also runs eight halfway houses where judges send defendants for court-ordered treatment.

The halfway houses are owned by a non-profit, which on paper, is exceeding its projected budget thanks in part to rent paid by clients sent by the court.

The eight halfway houses are on Harrington Avenue in Madison.

Most houses have eight residents each. The clients are primarily people with drug or alcohol charges who were sent there by a judge.

Before Judge Casey Moreland stepped aside from his duties as general sessions’ drug court judge, this is where some of the people he sentenced ended up.

The houses are owned or operated by a non-profit called Recovery Community, Inc. Lyn Noland is the executive director.

She is pictured on the general sessions court's website under treatment court staff and providers.

Some clients have glowing commentaries about Recovery Community, Inc.

One woman posted on their public Facebook page that she was a broken and lost woman; now she's "truly blessed to be a resident."

"We really enjoy helping them and seeing their growth," Noland told Channel 4.

But the I-Team also heard from people who question what they consider a too-cozy arrangement between Noland's program and Judge Moreland.

"She referred to Casey as her ‘confidant.’ That they talked about things unrelated to matters other than the drug court," said one former client, who did not want to be identified.

Recovery Community, Inc. is a not a government agency. Noland is not a Metro employee - but credit card records the I-Team obtained under the Open Records Act show Noland traveled with Moreland and others to conventions, including a trip to California in 2016, at the taxpayer’s expense.

"She referred to it one time as a junket. And talked about what a great deal it was and what a great time she had," a former client told the I-Team.

Noland’s travel was billed to Metro taxpayers with Judge Moreland's approval.

Metro auditors who were reviewing credit card records for general sessions court said that taxpayers shouldn't pay for people who aren't city employees, and asked the court to reimburse the taxpayers.

"I don't have anything to do with the financial matters. I'm just really here to help people. I'm not an accountant," Noland told the I-Team’s Nancy Amons.

“Did you not know that the city was paying for your travel?" Amons asked.

“I'm sure you have all those records," Noland said.

“Do you think it was right for the Metro taxpayers to pay for your travel?” Amons asked.

"I didn't know they were paying for my travel," Noland said.

She would not answer when asked who she thought was paying for her plane ticket to California.

The expenses were reimbursed to Metro taxpayers at the request of the auditors.

Judge Moreland's friend, prominent attorney Bryan Lewis, signed a check for about $3,000 to cover the cost of the questioned expenses.

At the time, Lewis was president of a foundation that raises money for Moreland's drug court. Lewis has since resigned. The check was written on the drug court foundation’s bank account.

Insiders who've been in the Recovery Community program told the I-Team something else that they said bothered them. They said when the houses on Harrington Avenue needed maintenance or upgrades, some clients were assigned to do the work as part of their community service sentence.

"A carpenter, he'd be at the top of the list to work there because he can do drywall. A plumber, he can work on the bathrooms in those houses," the former client said.

Noland said she hires tradespeople to work on the houses, but agreed that sometimes clients help.

"I'll say, 'Well, what do you know how to do?' 'Well, I can paint.' 'Well, then we can paint something," Noland said.

Nolan denied the community service work on the houses was mandatory.

The people who stay in the houses pay $140 dollars a week for rent; multiplied by eight people in a house, that's about $5,000 a month in rent for each house.

Recovery Community’s financial statements show they also receive about $95,000 a year in state grants.

The 2016 projected budget posted on a charity-tracker website shows Recovery Community, Inc. expected to end 2016 with a surplus of $75,000.

The financial statements show staff payroll of $110,000, but does not specify the names or number of employees.

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