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How Bill Ivey's Letter To The Editor May Have Bought Up to $250,000 Worth of Silence!

"Adultery is not about sex or romance. Ultimately, it is about how little we mean to each other." -- LEONARD MICHAELS

”There isn’t a family that hasn’t been touched by sexual disloyalty… The American people don’t want to judge anyone on the basis of sexual disloyalty. If they did, it would throw the society into chaos.”-- BILL IVEY, appearing on The Public Forum, June 25, 2004.

”It always seemed to be human nature to do everything one could to manipulate... I don't know that it's fair to expect anything else."-- BILL IVEY as quoted by JEANNE ANNE NAUJECK in The Tennessean, January 30, 2005, Page 8A.

“Our society is… changing the very character of our way of life… My fellow liberals… concerned liberals who might feel I’ve gone a bit too far [should realize that]….Whenever I read that productivity is up I think ‘Well, that’s really not a good thing,’ because productivity means more things are being done by fewer people in fewer hours… Let’s work fewer hours and fewer days…  We shouldn’t be working as hard as we are if we’re not going to be paid more… We know that… consumption doesn’t generate happiness, but we seem to be addicted to it…   I don’t avoid talking about  personal responsibility and the fact that Americans have to devote more time to family, think more intelligently…  There are very important areas of personal responsibility that have to be engaged honestly if we’re really going to have the kind of society that distinguishes itself from all others.”-- BILL IVEY appearing on A Word on Words, October 28, 2012

"I think what we need to do is to rediscover progressive values and put them forward... I think we can talk about our own view of how American society should work...  I think we need a four-day workweek in this country.  I think we need to suppress productivity... I think this is a values election... 'You are not alone.  You can live with purpose through work, family and community... We owe it to each other...'  If you penetrate... the need to rethink on an ethical or a values basis how we behave in relation to- how we achieve happiness; what we want for our children and how we attempt to achieve it.  It's a personal problem when we simultaneously want our students, our young people to be adventurous and risk-taking- and always safe... Those are things that have to do with Americans thinking about who we are as a people; what our values are... I don't like sunshine laws.  I don't like this constant penetration of our democratic process by outside observations because it makes it very hard for people to do their work"-- BILL IVEY appearing on PBS NewsHour, October 29, 2012

On November 7, 1983, a judgment in John Kennedy’s lawsuit against William James Ivey was entered, but its language was apparently so embarrassing to Bill that Ivey evidently wanted it suppressed. Ten days later The Tennessean, former employer of Ivey's first ex-wife, Saundra, published a rare Letter to the Editor from Bill calling the Nashville Gas Company (operating under the aegis of Country Music Foundation board member J. William Denny; Ivey serving at the CMF Board's pleasure) blameless in a controversy involving Fisk University.  Fisk University was Saundra's employer before Saundra joined  The Tennessean).  Did actions as small as Bill's writing the letter and the letter's publication have the far greater effect of preventing a cataclysmic mutiny of the CMF Board as it stifled the likelihood of any demand for an internal Foundation investigation?

Country Music Foundation Director Bill Ivey was going through some hard times in November, 1983 when he availed himself of the opportunity, as he rarely, if ever, had before, to write a letter to the editor of The Tennessean.

Ivey’s letter, published November 17, 1983, was titled Gas Company Blamed Unfairly for Fisk Woes. Listing his home address rather than that of the Country Music Foundation for identification, Bill expressed his support of the Nashville Gas Company; a utility coincidentally operating under the direction of Foundation board member J. William Denny.

Bill Denny’s name was not mentioned in Bill Ivey’s letter and The Tennessean's letters editor, Nancy McMillan did not add any editor’s note further identifying Ivey as expressing his opinion in any capacity other than as a private citizen.

But then Bill Ivey apparently maintained a good relationship with the newspaper, despite his having been divorced from his first wife, a Tennessean editor from 1979 until March 27, 1983.

Ironically, at the time of the couple’s March, 1976 separation, Saundra Ivey, as she was then known, was an employee of Fisk University.

A Detroit native, just three months short of his 25th birthday, Bill married Saundra, just 15 days short of her 24th birthday, on June 13, 1969 in the bride’s hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the first marriage for each, but happiness for the Hillwood Boulevard newlyweds was short-lived. (A veteran of the Naval Reserve, Bill moved to Nashville in 1971.)

On March 25, 1976, three months shy of the Iveys’ 15th wedding anniversary, the former Saundra Keyes (rhymes with "eyes") filed for divorce. Two days later Bill was served with divorce papers charging Ivey with "such cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct toward her as to render further cohabitation unsafe and improper."

Saundra requested an "absolute divorce" from Bill, alimony, an equitable property settlement and "attorney’s fees both pendente lite and permanent." Under terms of the uncontested divorce, their home was sold, "all indebtedness incurred by the parties… retired with the proceeds of the sale." Two-thirds of the net proceeds of the sale went to Saundra, the other third was Bill’s.

It was left to the couple to agree on the disposition of the Hillwood home’s furnishings and furniture. Bill was given "guitars owned by the parties," while Saundra got the Steinway piano.

What remained of the couple’s joint savings account was to be equally divided while their joint checking account would "be used to pay household and living expenses of the parties incurred until the sale of the residence." After their home was sold and the couple’s indebtedness to First American National Bank- representing the down payment on their home- had been repaid, any money remaining in the joint checking account would be divided between Bill and Saundra.

The couple was equally responsible for capital gains taxes on the profit on the sale of their home and entitled to equal tax deductions on that sale.

Bill incurred "as his sole obligation" an additional note in his name at First American National Bank and he had to pay Saundra’s attorney, Robert Brandt, "a reasonable attorney’s fee of $500." Bill Ivey was also ordered to pay court costs.

Saundra retained rights to her individual savings account while Bill retained the funds in his individual checking account.

Bill Ivey was ordered to pay Saundra $200 per month alimony for a period of 39 months: June, 1976-August, 1979.

After Brandt and Bill’s attorney, William Small, signed off on the agreement, Judge Steven North entered the order dissolving the Iveys’ marriage on June 21, 1976.

Bill remarried, but his marriage to former Country Music Foundation intern Patty Hall apparently occurred on the rebound from Saundra. By the winter of 1982, less than six years after his divorce from Saundra Keyes (following her divorce from Bill, Saundra reverted to her maiden name), Bill and Patty were going through divorce proceedings.

By contrast, Saundra was doing well. On November 15, 1976, less than five months after her divorce from Bill became final, Keyes made a career change. She joined Tennessean as a copy editor.

On the fast track, Saundra was promoted to the position of reporter on October 31, 1977. Keyes spent 1978 away from the newspaper on a grant/fellowship, returning in 1979 as the newspaper’s Metro reporter. That same year Saundra was promoted to the position of editor which she maintained before leaving the paper on March 27, 1983 to take a job as a reporter and editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

By winter, 1982’s end, the Director of the Country Music Foundation had a case of spring fever. Bill’s attention turned to Diane Roberts Kennedy, a Country Music Foundation employee. This, according to John E. Kennedy, who had married Diane on August 25, 1979.

Kennedy says that "On or about December, 1981," while Bill was still married to Patty Hall, Ivey approached John’s wife of a little over  two years and "unlawfully, wantonly, and maliciously attempted to gain her affections" and to entice Diane away from John.

At that time, Diane "freaked out," rejecting her boss’ advances, according to John’s recollection of what Bill told him during a July 27, 1982 phone conversation between the men. During that phone conversation, John claims Bill told him that he "felt more willing to... engage" Diane now that Patty was no longer in the picture, "knowing full well that" Diane was John’s wife. Through his actions, Bill "wrongfully contrived to injure" John as Bill “sought to persuade and entice [Diane] to leave [John]."

During this period Diane remained a Country Music Foundation employee while, according to John, Bill "used his superior position over [Diane], along with his money and the glamor of his position at the Foundation to unfairly and maliciously entice [John Kennedy’s wife] into having an affair with him and into leaving [John]."

According to John Kennedy’s recollection of the July 27, 1982 phone conversation with Diane’s boss, Bill and Diane had sexual intercourse on July 19, 1982 and again at Ivey’s apartment on July 23, 1982 during the period when John was still living with Diane in their Nashville home.

In a complaint John Kennedy filed against William James Ivey in Circuit Court on February 16, 1983, Kennedy stated that before Bill Ivey "moved into [their] lives," John and Diane had a "stable, loving relationship in which they depended upon each other for love and support." But after Bill took "the love and support" of John’s wife away from Kennedy, John’s "emotional state shifts from confusion to despair. [John] feels betrayed and distrustful towards other people and... cannot see that he will ever have a trusting relationship with another person. [Kennedy] could not sleep at nights [sic] and has lost a great deal of weight due to the traumatic effects [Ivey’s] actions have had on his life. He cannot find any purpose in life and his moods of despair have reach the point of almost becoming suicidal."

John and Diane Kennedy were divorced "on or about October 22, 1982."

Due to Ivey’s "wicked, wanton, and malicious conduct..." in complete and total disregard of [John’s] rights and marital status, Kennedy demanded $150,000 in compensatory damages and another $100,000 in punitive damages.

The disposition of the case is somewhat murky. Apparently Ivey did not want to see headlines in Tennessean, nor the Nashville Banner, for that matter, proclaiming that he had been sued by a cuckolded husband to whom he was forced to pay $250,000.

Indications are Bill Ivey’s attorney, William W. Gibson pressed John Kennedy’s attorney, Richard Balz to settle the case and that apparently Ivey and Gibson had some leverage with which to do so. For on November 4, 1983 Kennedy and Baltz executed a Release and Covenant Not To Sue. On November 7th, a judgment in Kennedy’s case against Ivey was entered but was apparently so embarrassing to Bill that Ivey wanted it suppressed before the terms became public. [Bill Ivey and William Gibson did not return phone calls on this subject.]

Accordingly, Gibson executed a Motion on Ivey’s behalf, citing Rule 60.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 60.01 pertains to “Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders or other parts of the record, and errors therein arising from oversight or omissions” that "may be corrected by the court at any time on its own initiative or on motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders. During the pendency of an appeal, such mistakes may be so corrected before the appeal is docketed in the appellate court, and thereafter while the appeal is pending may be so corrected with leave of the appellate court."

Since records, all filings and orders in Kennedy’s lawsuit against Ivey would otherwise have been a matter of public record, it appears that Gibson’s Motion on Ivey’s behalf was designed to place under seal, the previously public record indicating the terms of the settlement including the reasons for including a Release and Covenant Not to Sue.

In any event, in his Order of January 4, 1984, following his having heard Ivey/Gibson’s Motion on December 30, 1983, Judge Harry Lester granted the Motion, placing the Release and Covenant Not to Sue "under seal of this Court and not to be available for inspection by third parties without prior consent of this Court."

Corrections to the above, from knowledgeable parties willing to identify themselves, are most certainly welcome, requested and encouraged.

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