Glen Casada’s former secretary: Former House Speaker caught in Cothren’s ‘twisted wicket’

Marissa Sulek speaks to the former secretary of former House Speaker Glen Casada about the federal indictment of Casada and Cade Cothren.
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - For the first time we are hearing from someone in Rep. Glen Casada’s inner circle.

Casada is the former Speaker of the House who was indicted along with his former chief of staff Cade Cothren. Their charges are in connection to bribery and kickback conspiracy.

Casada’s former secretary said Wednesday she believes Casada was caught up in Cothren’s scheme.

Casada and Cothren will go on trial for the charges on Oct. 25.

Carole Simpson was put on administrative leave following the FBI raids at Casada’s office in the Cordell Hull Building in 2021. She was told at the time she was a subject of the investigation. That’s also the day she said goodbye to her job with Casada.

“I’ve been asking you to talk with us over a year now, ever since the FBI raids happened,” WSMV4′s Marissa Sulek said on Wednesday. “What made you actually come here today?”

“Because I want to help him,” Simpson said. “I want people to see the person that he really is.”

In fact, she was in the federal courtroom on Tuesday as Casada and Cothren plead not guilty to 20 counts of bribery and kickback conspiracy.

“Most people watching who have seen this over the years may not believe you saying he’s a wonderful person after what they’ve seen on TV continuously,” Sulek pointed out.

“Right. Yeah, they might, and I’m just a staff person,” Simpson replied. “Why would they believe me?”

“So, you still support him?” asked Sulek.

“Yes,” Simpson replied.

“Even after the lewd messages he sent about women?”

“He was single. He was just wanting to be one of the guys,” Simpson said. “When he got the divorce, it wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t happy about the divorce.”

“All these political scams he’s been accused of on TV for and prosecutors have accused him for – kickback conspiracy and bribery,” Sulek listed.

“I don’t know what part he is involved in,” Simpson said. “I don’t think the feds are totally ignorant. I think that he got sucked into something.”

Casada and Cothren are accused of starting a mailer program vendor called Phoenix Solutions. The indictment said Cothren ran the LLC under a fictitious name and kickbacked the profits to Casada and former state representative Robin Smith. She said Cothren could be charming.

“I mean, I’ve said Cade is very charismatic and Robin was a ripe target,” Simpson said.

When WSMV4 asked what it was like working with Cothren, Simpson said he was jealous of her. She said it was because she’s old, has experience and could see “something wasn’t just right.”

She also said she never suspected anything criminal from Casada and Cothren. She also admitted she never knew anything about Phoenix Solutions.

“My heart tells me everything I’ve done in work, they way he’s conducted himself is like ‘How could this be?’ But Cade Cothren is a twisted wicket,” Simpson said.

For context, a wicket is the wire arch you hit the ball through in croquet. If someone is a “twisted wicket,” you can’t get through to them; they are all twisted up.

After a year, Simpson said she found a new job not with Casada.