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Did Someone Pay $250,000 For Police Report?

Did Someone Pay $250,000 For Police Report?

By Phil Williams. CREATED Nov 13, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Did someone really pay a quarter of a million dollars to get a police report written?

That's what Kenneth Cooper now claims. Cooper is the man who claimed that he was tortured by a Rutherford County commissioner over a business deal gone bad.

The attorney for the man who supposedly paid Cooper the money calls it a "total fabrication."

Still, NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that Cooper's claims have already figured into an internal police investigation that forced a cop off the force.

"These people wanted a police report written because there's so much money to be made right there," he told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Cooper -- who goes by the nickname "Slim Shady" -- first told the story of the business deal gone bad, a deal that resulted in the indictment last week of a Rutherford County commissioner and two other men for kidnapping and assault.

But Cooper also claimed that the manufacturer of some video gambling machines paid him big money to get a veteran Metro police officer to write a report saying the machines were, in fact, legal.

"When the deal was completed, he gave me a quarter of a million dollars in cash," Cooper claimed.

"To get this report written?" we asked.

"Yes."

"By a police officer?"

"Yes."

The manufacturer was Shelbyville's Keith Heflin, who has long argued that -- because his machines dispensed baseball cards and later phone cards -- they were not illegal gambling devices.

In 2006, Heflin was looking to sell the rights to distribute the machines in Nashville to one-time bookie "Big Mike" Williamson.

Cooper became a go-between.

He claimed that Heflin offered him money to close the deal.

"At first, he offered me $25,000. I laughed at him. I said, 'Whoever gets this deal right here, it's millions of dollars invested and I'm not gonna do it for $25,000,'" Cooper said.

But Heflin's attorney insisted that never happened.

Still, no one disputes that Cooper then went to his friend, Sgt. Randy Brock, who had once worked as a vice supervisor.

"Me and him both felt that these machines right there were totally legit and they would fly in Nashville," Cooper said.

So Brock wrote a "matter of record" report, saying he believed Heflin's machine "does not meet the criteria as a gambling device" and any attempts to bust them would be "wasted."

Cooper claimed that Heflin was elated.

"Once he had that police report in hand, I remember looking into his eyes right there and he knew he'd struck gold," he said.

Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said that "the authoring of this report by Brock obviously caused the police department problems" in enforcing the state's gambling statutes against Heflin's machines.

Aaron said that a 2011 internal affairs investigation -- triggered after Cooper got mad at Brock and filed a complaint against him -- never figured out whether anyone really got paid.

Still, another vice cop told investigators that Cooper had also told him he was supposed to get a quarter of a million dollars and he needed Metro vice "to agree [the machines] were legal."

But Brock emphatically denied writing the report for Cooper, telling internal affairs he did it just to document his meeting with a Heflin associate.

"Brock had no business writing this report," Aaron said. "The report contains falsehoods. Making inaccurate reports, lying, in the police department is a very, very serious offense."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Cooper if he paid Brock.

"Absolutely not, he never took one penny from me on that right there," he said. "He was doing it basically for me -- and with that money I did take, I paid off my gambling debts and went back to more gambling."

With the report in hand, the former bookie, "Big Mike" Williamson, signed a distribution agreement with Heflin's Worlds of Games. 

Then Metro police seized the machines -- which led to a lawsuit between the two men.

In that lawsuit, both denied that they had paid Cooper anything.

"If we were going to do that, Kenneth Cooper would be the last person that we'd ever get involved with because he's like a loose cannon," said Heflin's attorney, John Norton.

Despite all the questions, all the court documents make it clear that Cooper was in a lot of the meetings, and his police friend did write that report.

Heflin's attorney provided NewsChannel 5 with a copy of a deposition that Cooper gave in the civil case and, in it, he said absolutely nothing about him getting cash for the report.

But Cooper said that's because he wasn't asked that question directly.

Even if anyone paid Cooper a quarter of a million dollars to get this report written, it would not be illegal.

No one is saying that Brock accepted anything -- and he insisted that he never took a penny.

Still, the police spokesman says Brock made it appear in his report that he still worked in vice. In fact, at the time, he was in patrol.

Brock pleaded guilty just last year to violating department rules.

He accepted a 30-day suspension and agreed to resign.

 
Phil Williams

Phil Williams

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Phil Williams is chief investigative reporter for NewsChannel 5's nationally award-winning investigative team. His investigations have earned him journalism's highest honors.