The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen has decided not to censure controversial alderman and mayoral candidate Gabrielle Hanson for violating the city’s ethics code.
In July, the Franklin Ethics Commission ruled that Hanson had abused her position as an elected official by pressuring Nashville International Airport President Doug Kreulen to withdraw funding from a local Juneteenth festival.
On June 5, Hanson emailed Kreulen, identifying herself as a Franklin alderman and asking the airport to take back its financial support of an event put on by the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition — an organization she characterized as “radical” and anti-police — or send an equal donation to the African American Heritage Society.
The ethics commission found that this email violated sections I-805 and I-808 of the Franklin Municipal Code, and recommended that she be censured by the Board of Mayor and Alderman.
At Tuesday night’s meeting the board the decided not to vote on that recommendation, meaning that, for now, Hanson will not be censured.
Hanson is no stranger to controversy. Over the past several months, she’s drawn criticism for offensive comments about the LGBTQ+ community, for lying about warning police about the Covenant School shooting before it happened and for a 1990s arrest for promoting prostitution.
Several Franklin residents spoke at last night’s board meeting.
“Madam Hanson has made our city government a laughingstock as her lies … have been seen countrywide,” said Peggy Kingsbury, a resident who was one of the complainants in Hanson’s original ethics hearing.
Another of the original complainants, Emily Jenkins, said that the board’s decision sets a disturbing precedent.
“She’s abused her powers, and allowing that abuse to go unchecked sends a message to future officeholders that there are no limits to the activities they can undertake under a false claim of city authority,” said Jenkins.
Hanson is currently running for mayor of Franklin. That election will be held on Oct. 24.