Commissioner Josh Jordan Admits to Drug Dealing Past


Knoxville (WVLT) - He lists his occupation as a licensed contractor, but many are asking about a job he had as a teenager.

Newly appointed Knox County Commissioner Josh Jordan now admits that more than 14-years-ago, he sold cocaine in East Knoxville, and later helped federal prosecutors put away the ringleaders.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has details on a past that's being brought into question, after Jordan was sworn into office Wednesday.

The e-mails and phone calls came in anonymously, but the record shows the rumors have legs.

Josh Jordan calls all of it, a juvenile's mistake.

"I'm gonna see how this pans out and it's a great experience for me, and new," newly-appointed Commissioner Josh Jordan told a WVLT News crew Thursday. "Just take it day by day."

Josh Jordan now knows that one day can change everything. For barely two days after Knox County Commissioners swear him in as one of their own, the replacement for his term-limited step mom, come court documents tying him to a cocaine conspiracy when he was teenager.

Not convicted, not even charged: but a witness

Testifying he sold coke in two Knoxville housing projects for the so-called 'Florida Boys' from summer until his arrested on Halloween Eve 1992.

"I was a young juvenile, making juvenile decisions hanging around with the wrong crowd, I was young. Young, you know," Commissioner Jordan tells WVLT.

"So you got the coke from him, sold it, and gave him the money?" asks Boyd.

"That's it," admits Jordan.

The "him", prosecutors allege, and Josh Jordan admits, was Thomas Jerome "Sonny" Elder.

Not only a 'Florida Boys' drug gang leader, but convicted of setting a fire at Walter P. Taylor Homes that killed four children back in 1992.

Other court documents allege that prosecutors believed Josh Jordan was among those who saw "Sonny" set that fire.

"I did not witness that. I will tell you the truth on this interview, and the truth is I was not there… At all, knew nothing about it." Jordan says. "There's nothing else that you guys can dig up or say I was a part of this or I was a part of that, that's it," Jordan says.

Federal prosecutors have refused comment.

Josh Jordan says he mentioned none when he applied for Knox County Commissioner, because he hadn't been convicted of anything.

Nor, Commission staff say, were background checks done on any candidate.

"I guess it's one of those things that's inevitable when you put yourself out as a public servant," says Jordan. "I wouldn't say it's fair or unfair but I guess it's just life. Maybe it was time for it to come out."

Right after he filled out his Commissioner's paperwork Thursday, Jordan spoke of unique experience he'd bring. "I've been in the community for awhile and not just on a surface level, but beneath the surface."

He now tells WVLT he hopes his past will be a lesson to kids, and to his constituents.

"The decisions you make as a juvenile are not the same decisions you make as an adult, so I would hope it would have some bearing on that, yes," Jordan says.

Josh Jordan says he plans to stay on as Knox County Commissioner.

We've left messages for his step-mother Diane Jordan, the commissioner he succeeded, and for Commission Chairman Scott Moore.

Neither has returned our phone calls.

We're also talking to other commissioners: Did they know about this? Would it have affected whether they appointed him a commissioner?

You'll hear from at least one of them on the NightWATCH at 11.


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