Judge caught violating same Metro ordinance he enforces - WSMV Channel 4

Judge caught violating same Metro ordinance he enforces

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Jim Todd, who oversees environmental court, may have violated the same ordinance that he enforces on a weekly basis. (WSMV) Jim Todd, who oversees environmental court, may have violated the same ordinance that he enforces on a weekly basis. (WSMV)
Jim Todd reportedly sent this letter to neighbors. (WSMV) Jim Todd reportedly sent this letter to neighbors. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A part-time Davidson County General Sessions judge has violated the same Metro ordinance he enforces on a weekly basis.

Jim Todd presides over the General Sessions Environmental Court, hearing civil cases between the city and property owners accused of violating Metro codes.

For the past six months, he has heard cases involving Nashville’s short-term rental ordinance where property owners are accused by the city of operating without a short-term rental permit. Property owners found in violation of the ordinance are given a $50 fine.

Part of the ordinance requires permit holders to display their permit number or permit photograph with their online listing.

When checked Tuesday morning, Todd’s personal AirBnb listings did not include photographs of his permits.

"I don’t know that I’m in violation of it,” Todd said. "If I’m in violation of it, then I need to be brought before Judge Allegra Walker.”

Both Todd and Metro attorney Katie Downey operate short-term rental houses. Downey represents the city in STR cases. Her listing was also missing a permit photograph Tuesday. Both Todd and Downey have since added pictures of their permits to their listings.

"She regrets the error and appreciates WSMV bringing this oversight to her attention,” said Sean Braisted, spokesperson for Mayor Megan Barry's office.

Todd is also speaking out about an undated letter he sent to his neighbors asking to purchase their short-term rental permit.

His Germantown neighborhood had already reached the cap for non-owner-occupied STR permits, so he was unable to get one from the city.

The letter says, “I have contacted Metro Planning Department as well as Metro Legal Department, and they have assured me short-term rental permits are transferable.”

According to Bill Herbert with the Metro Codes Department, short-term rental permits are not and have never been “transferable." Todd says he was advised by a Metro codes employee to go with his neighbors when they turned in their permit so he could be the first in line to apply for the open permit.

“I don’t think the word transferable is the word we were looking at because that has a legal term to it,” Todd added. “What we were looking to do is to find someone who was not going to renew and then go with them when they turned theirs in and then get the one they turned in.”

Todd says he never actually purchased the permit and ended up selling the Germantown home.

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