Could Connie Ridley have some “inappropriate behavior” of her own?
While Beth Harwell, Joe McCord and others are busy stonewalling and covering up the latest scandal inside the Speaker’s office, the RTP Merry Band of Tipsters have been hard at work.
One tipster sent us a message mentioning Harwell henchman Connie Ridley. In that message, the tipster referred to Ridley as “Connie Tanksley Heller Frederick Ridley.”
Hmmm. The obvious intent was to imply that Ms. Ridley has been married more than once – maybe as many as three times. Now in this day and age, being a serial bride may not seem like that big of deal. However, Ms. Tanksley? Heller? Frederick? Ridley is not just any public figure. She is the person who is dispatched by the speaker whenever there is inappropriate behavior to be ferreted out (like with Rep. Pants Candy) or covered up (like she did with Harwell’s former and current staff members).
But just who is this appointed arbiter of what is permissible, appropriate and moral when it comes to dealing with members of the legislature, lobbyists and staff? What is her history?
RTP has been informed that before Ms. Ridley became Ms. Ridley, she was Mrs. Frederick, was married to some guy named Kurt Frederick and was the mother of two young teenage boys at the time. She was originally hired by Jimmy Naifeh to do his bidding like she now does Beth’s, keeping a lid on scandals and passing secret judgment on those who present a problem to leadership. Harwell even has a pet name for Ridley, which numerous legislators have heard her use: “Ice Bitch.”
Frau Connie has a reputation for being mean and ruthless, but on the plus side she does a great job managing the garbage pick-up schedule. But keeping track of and disposing of the political trash is a lonely job. At some point Mrs. Frederick decided her life did not have enough excitement, so she reportedly became “involved” with a liberal Democrat lobbyist by the name of Nathan Ridley — who was also incoveniently married to someone else at the time. To hear it from the staff who were around at the time, the alleged affair got so heated that furtive assignations were consummated in out of the way locations around the legislative plaza so the two love birds could “get busy” in private. Their respective marriages eventually ended in unpleasant divorces. We have no way of knowing all the details of these accusations (and they have already created a mental picture that we are going to find difficult to erase), but there are enough staffers with enough axes to keep the grinder running around the clock, and they all tell the same story. Is it all true? Sounds like it to us.
Now why, you may ask, are the assignations of two middle-aged people in heat so important to disclose (other than for the obvious, if icky, humor value)? Simple. Connie Tanksley? Heller? Frederick-Ridley has been given the responsibility of being the legislature’s “Morality Cop” while possibly engaging in her own “inappropriate behavior.” She has taken her position and turned it into a tool of retribution and terror, whose main job is to clean up the messes of Leadership and, one would presume, to retain and use her negative institutional knowledge of the seamier side of the legislature to consolidate her power and wield enormous influence. And, of course, to ensure no one would ever fire her. In the same way J. Edgar Hoover used to bitch-slap powerful members of Congress with his secret files, Ridley is apparently running a similarly nefarious operation in Tennessee (no word on whether when she and Nathan are alone she wears the red cocktail dresses so favored by J. Edgar).
But it’s kinda hard to hold the moral high ground when you have a reputation for wallowing in your own mud. Sort of like Bill Clinton being named the “Lord Protector of the Sanctity of Marriage.” How legislators can continue to stomach someone like Ridley passing judgement on what is “proper conduct” for others is beyond us.
RTP has also heard from legislators that some Harwell lieutenants may be using Ridley and the scandals swirling around her office and other members of her leadership team as an inducement (threat?) to keep Harwell in the speaker’s chair. According to our sources, their barely-veiled pitch is that it might be “unfortunate” if someone other than Beth was speaker because, you know, “certain things about certain people” might get leaked out if Beth were not there to keep a lid on it. And just where could Beth/Connie/Joe get information that might be used to pressure recalcitrant legislators? Remember the open-ended, off-the-sworn-record, investigation of Jeremy Durham? That “investigation” accumulated a lot more information about other legislators than what was included in their final report. Where is that information now? What do you want to bet Ridley has Herbert Slatery’s phone number on speed dial?
Sounds to us like a good reason to replace Harwell, if for no other reason to be able to finally fire Ms. Ridley. Returning Harwell as speaker would definitely keep Ms. Connie Tanksley? Heller? Frederick-Ridley on the job.
We are already facing a possibility of Hillary Clinton as president. It would suck having to deal with more than one “Ice Bitch” at a time.
[Editors’ note: As is our M.O., the crew at RTP engages in rampant rumor-mongering, albeit rumor-mongering that has been annoyingly dead-on accurate since our launch over two years ago. If anyone believes any of the above is substantively wrong, knock yourself out and submit your proof by throwing it over the transom we call the RTP Tipline (email@example.com). Likewise, if anyone has additional information on the randy Ms. Ridley, we would appreciate that too. If we are wrong we will correct the record. But we got a feeling we’re not wrong….]