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VOL. 123 | NO. 49 | Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kustoff Resigns as US Attorney, Plans Return to Private Practice

By Bill Dries

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U.S. Attorney David Kustoff is leaving his job as chief federal prosecutor for West Tennesseee.

Kustoff this morning announced his resignation effective May 16, just more than two years after he was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Recently, I made the decision that I would not seek or accept another term next year as the United States Attorney,” Kustoff said in a written statement. “It has truly been an honor to serve the people of West Tennessee as the United States Attorney. However, both personally and professionally, the timing is right for me to return to the private practice of law.”

Kustoff will rejoin the Memphis law firm Kustoff & Strickland PLLC, where he is partners with attorney and City Council member Jim Strickland.

His two-year tenure was highlighted by the prosecution of political corruption cases that caused changes in state law and shifts in the local political world.

Operation Tennessee Waltz, an undercover sting operation in which FBI agents posed as corrupt business executives, began and went public during the tenure of Kustoff’s predecessor, Terry Harris.

All 12 Waltz defendants – including nine from Memphis – were either tried and convicted or pleaded guilty. The impact was most intense in Memphis politics but was felt state-wide. The Legislature passed a law requiring local governments to pass their own ethics codes with bodies to hear complaints of misconduct.

Operation Main Street Sweeper followed with more charges against local elected officials. In the 2006 county and 2007 city elections, voters responded by electing a majority of new members to the Shelby County Commission and the Memphis City Council.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 56 212 11,977
MORTGAGES 68 295 15,645
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 23 80 3,103
BUILDING PERMITS 0 606 28,832
BANKRUPTCIES 81 291 11,598
BUSINESS LICENSES 29 102 4,257
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 89 428 17,611
MARRIAGE LICENSES 20 81 3,645

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