UPDATE: Threats or advice? We're hearing the phone calls that led to the arrest of a Hamilton County commissioner. 

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert released the calls. He said in them you can hear his opponent, Commissioner Tim Boyd, threaten him. But Boyd, who is facing a criminal extortion charge, said he was only offering advice.

Lambert said the three calls released Monday were the same ones presented to a grand jury earlier this month. All three took place in February. In them, you can hear Boyd inform Lambert that his team had damaging information against him that would ruin his reputation if he stayed in the race.

“To me Brent, it is not worth it to you. It is a little county commission job. You're doing good things in East Ridge,” Tim Boyd said during a phone conversation with Brent Lambert.

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert said County Commissioner Tim Boyd tried to intimidate him out of the race, and he has the recordings to prove it.

“Brent Lambert is a very unethical businessman. And uh, that is the point that my team will drive home for the next two months,” Commissioner Boyd said over the phone to Lambert.

In the recordings, released by Lambert, you can hear Boyd urge Lambert to drop out of the race. Promising he will retire in four years.

“This is my last run," Boyd said. "I am not going to go for any more county commission things. I will be 69, 70 years old when this term is over. I am done, I am retiring.”

You can hear Lambert refuse to drop out.

“You are going to stay in and let us do our thing? That is what your answer is?” Boyd asked.

“That is it,” replied Lambert.

“Okay, alright. We will see what happens,” Boyd said.

The release comes less than a week after a grand jury indicted Boyd with extortion.

Lambert said he released the phone calls to hold Boyd accountable, and he's ready to move on to the election ahead.

According to Tennessee law, it is legal to record a conversation as long as one person gives consent, even if the consenting person is the one recording the conversation.

When asked why Lambert decided to release the calls Monday, and not during a press conference last week, he said he was waiting to get the recordings.

After the recordings were released, Commissioner Boyd's campaign released the following statement: 

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert told Hamilton County citizens last Friday he would reveal the tape recording he made of County Commissioner Tim Boyd in February. Today, at noon, he turned away 11 regular citizens for the reveal. Then, Lambert put it up on Facebook Live.

“I thought what happened last week and the things that were said by Mr. Lambert just seemed a bit delusional,” said Commissioner Boyd. “What we saw today would seem to confirm that fact.”

An off-duty East Ridge police officer stood at the single door entering a meeting room at the East Ridge Community Center. He said that no one could enter except media. Seven of the 11 people in the lobby said they came as East Ridge citizens to hear their mayor, even though all were supporting Boyd. The remaining four had nothing to say.

“Think about it,” said Boyd, “exactly why did Mayor Lambert call a press conference on Friday? Six calls and he could have had the same audience of press present he had today. And why say what he said Friday and then turn away East Ridge residents today and put it on Facebook?

“It’s just a well-known belief around Hamilton County that East Ridge politics can be rotten, but Mayor Lambert seem to have taken the image of an East Ridge politician to a new level.” 

The Boyd campaign is reviewing what Lambert said today regarding the recording Lambert made without Boyd’s knowledge in February, but the bizarre events are consistent with events of the Lambert campaign over the past seven days. The campaign said it checked with several long-time journalists in Chattanooga and none of them had ever heard of calling a press conference and then exclude regular citizens, either here or nationally. 


•    Lambert opened his campaign with a fundraiser on April 9 with a host committee heavy on CVB leadership, Exit I developers and prominent Democrats.

•    Lambert had not put out a campaign sign until this weekend. He qualified for the race two months ago.

•    Unifi-Ed, a liberal activist group led by a self-professed union organizer, is knocking on doors promoting Lambert and other candidates. Unifi-Ed was paid more than $1,500 by Lambert for staff support, according to his financial disclosure. That apparently means Lambert is paying people to go tell voters in District 8 to support him and other candidates.

“I am not sure if these passionate young people working for a cause or a check,” said Boyd.

•    Lambert apparently paid for an estimated 6,233 palm cards Unifi-Ed is using based on the amount his disclosure says he paid for them and the known, fair cost to print a palm card.

PREVIOUS STORY: Commissioner Tim Boyd's legal counsel, Lee Davis, released the following statement in response to East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert's press conference on Friday.

“Political candidate Brent Lambert issued a press release Friday threatening Tim Boyd that he will release a secretly recorded conversation today in order to gain political advantage in an election. Mr. Lambert is committing the same act today that he complained of last week. 

“If Mr. Lambert really believes he is the victim of a crime, as he claims to be, it is curious business for him to hold a press conference today to release evidence, as he announced he intends to do. As a political candidate, Lambert is holding a press conference today, he says, to release a conversation that he secretly recorded of a political opponent. Puzzlingly, Mr. Lambert initiated the call to Commissioner Tim Boyd for the purpose of recording him. This act by Mr. Lambert, followed by an indictment, and now followed by his announcement that he will release evidence in a pending criminal case, is a mockery of our legal system. Mr. Lambert and those individuals who are helping him with his threats against Commissioner Tim Boyd should be held accountable for their actions.

“My law office will be representing Commissioner Tim Boyd in a court of law on Friday, and we will ask the court to set this matter for trial at the earliest possible opportunity so that we may do our part

PREVIOUS STORY: As Hamilton County residents continue to cast early votes, two candidates are in the middle of a legal dispute.

Just days after Hamilton County County Commissioner (District 8) Tim Boyd was indicted for extortion, his opponent is sharing more information about what he says led to Boyd's arrest.

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert held a brief press conference Friday afternoon. During the presser, he said this all started back in February when he originally spoke to Boyd over the phone.

With his wife, children and parents by his side, Lambert shared details about a phone call he says he got on February 15th. 

"I received a call from my employer's attorney who had been instructed by Tim Boyd to have me drop out of the race," said Lambert. 

Lambert says that attorney was Allen McCallie, who represents the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, where Lambert is Chief Operating Officer. Lambert says McCallie then encouraged him to contact Boyd. That's exactly what Lambert says he did the next morning. He says that's when Boyd threatened him saying his team had bad information against him. 

"He said that his team wanted to go public with the information, but Boyd himself said he'd rather me, Brent Lambert, pull out of the race. Otherwise, I go to the media, I go to the Chattanoogan, the newspaper, social media; I'll do mailers. This is not going to be good for you, your employer or your family," Lambert recalled. 

Lambert says the two spoke again the following week.

"There were other things that were said that you will find out eventually."

In an interview following his arrest, Boyd said he was only giving Lambert advice. 

"What do you want me to do? I said, why are you asking me that? I'm your opponent, as an opponent, I want you to leave the race. So is that a threat? No," said Boyd.

Lambert didn't allow the media to ask any questions, but he says more information about the legal dispute between him and Boyd will be shared soon. 

"It appears that Mr. Boyd wants to punish me or bully me for doing the right thing. He threatened me; he threatened my family my employer and my only choice was to place this in the hands of our Hamilton County district attorney and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation," said Lambert. 

Lambert plans to share the phone calls between him and Boyd during a press conference on Monday at noon at the East Ridge Community Center on Tombras Ave. 

Boyd sent Channel 3 this statement in response to Lambert's plans to share the calls: 

“We all look forward to hearing the tape in context. I am, and I know my legal team will. Court assures the truth will come out. Meanwhile, we have an election to win.”