Amy Henley-Vandergriff makes brief statement, no questions at press conference

Amy Henley-Vandergriff, left (Photo Courtesy: WNOX-FM) and her husband Joshua Vandergriff, 30, right (Photo Courtesy: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

UPDATED 6/13/08 6:50 p.m.: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knox County Clerk candidate Amy Henley-Vandergriff says the courts will try her estranged husband for assault, and she won't let her life, or her 7-year-old daughter be tried in the media.

Her statements come three days after her husband Josh was charged with assault, and two days after he made their marriage problems public.

Henley-Vandergriff says her qualifications for clerk -- not her private life -- should be the only public issue, but she too, has answered public questions, on the radio.

“This is a private matter made public because I seek public office, But this has nothing to do with the public office I seek. It has everything to do with the private safety and peace of mind of my daughter”

In her two minute news conference this afternoon, Henley-Vandergriff offered no answers on why a husband she calls manipulative, possessive, and mentally and physically abusive would have assaulted her and a male co-worker in a restaurant parking lot Tuesday night. But she covers everything from his claims of her cheating, to why she's running for office in her 11 minutes on Hallerin Hilton Hill's radio show Friday morning,.

On the Hallerin Hilton Hill Show, Henley-Vandergriff said, “This is not the first time my husband has accused me of something that was not true”

Josh Vandergriff tells us he believes she's putting politics over her family--saying any woman with a heart would choose getting right with her life over any election.

On the radio Friday morning, Henley-Vandergriff said, “Am I the best candidate for Knox County Clerk? Yes, I still am, The fact remains that I have experience in the office.”

Henley-Vandergriff once worked for the Knox County Clerk’s office.

Knox County Clerk’s personnel director John Williams says, “There was an instance over tardiness and abusive language to a customer. What did she call a customer? Well, I'd rather not say.”

Her supervisors spelled it out in a warning notice that then-Deputy Clerk Amy Vandergriff got in January 2007.

Supervisors clocked her 10 to 20 minutes late, four out of five days one week that March. By July, her apparent tardiness had been documented 23 times, and had earned her three days off without pay.

On September 26, she was fired.

Personnel director Williams says, “There was a reference to her not being able to get along with management.”

Henley-Vandergriff has maintained she was fired over politics, but the then acting clerk, Billy Tindell says her performance troubles began before he took office, and that, frankly, she talked herself out of a job

Amy Henley-Vandergriff hasn't returned calls since her news conference.

Before her news conference ended, she said she'd be doing what's necessary to protect herself, and the couple's daughter. Beyond getting a protection order--she's offered no more explanations.


UPDATE 6/13/08 3:37 p.m.: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Democratic Knox County Clerk candidate Amy Henley-Vandergriff held a short press conference Friday afternoon where she read a brief prepared statement to the media and refused to answer any questions.

Henley-Vandergriff originally scheduled to press conference for Thursday after she was allegedly assaulted by her husband in the parking lot of Mellow Mushroom in West Knox county Tuesday night.

Henley-Vandergriff postponed the press conference after her husband, Josh Vandergriff, released a taped phone conversation between him and his wife to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

The phone conversation suggests Henley-Vandergriff was having an affair, but she told Volunteer TV News that she's a married woman, and has conducted herself appropriately.

Vandergriff is also accused of beating David T. Gionta to unconsciousness after discovering his wife in the car with him. Henley-Vandergriff insists she is not romantically involved with Gionta, who is a co-worker.


UPDATED 6/12/08 6:35 p.m.: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Friday, the democratic candidate for Knox County Clerk, Amy Henley-Vandergriff, is expected to address issues her estranged husband Josh has raised since he was charged with beating her and one of her co-workers in the parking lot of a West Knox County restaurant Tuesday.

Specifically, she says she'll deal with her husband's claims that he was trying to catch her cheating on him.

Josh Vandergriff says he's not giving any more interviews until his wife's news conference, which was postponed from Thursday.

But in a brief interview on Henley-Vandergriff’s back porch, she claims media reports have misrepresented the situation, particularly after the News-Sentinel's Web site posted a recorded phone conversation.

Henley-Vandergriff told Volunteer TV News, “I don't know what you all expect me to do except be human. It's a bad situation and it's been made public.”

She won't directly confirm or deny it's her voice on a phone call her estranged husband Josh recorded and gave to the News Sentinel. It’s a call Josh claims offers proof she'd been cheating with the man he later would be charged with assaulting.

Josh: “You're just trying to pretend this didn't happen and stuff?

Amy: “I'm just saying you are imagining something that's not... I made a mistake, I know that mistake...It was wrong for me to have an emotional connection with

Josh: “I don't care about you flirting or having an emotional connection. I care about you [expletive deleted] somebody behind my back.”

Henley-Vandergriff tells Volunteer TV News, “We have the normal stress of a relationship, plus a campaign on top of it which makes a jealous husband even more jealous.”

Amy says she was trying to work things out for the sake of their daughter, but Josh's recorded call hints at other motivations.

Amy: “You think about after this election when I win. How our lives will change and we will be living better than 98 percent of the people in Knox County.”

Amy: “I'm saying, if you loved me like you say you do, let's go to counseling and work this out.”

Josh: “Obviously, there's still something between you two."”

Today, Amy says all of the marital troubles should have remained family matters.

“I'm running for public office, the Knox County clerk. That doesn't change my ability, or what I know about that office.”

You can hear the entire phone conversation on the News-Sentinel Web site.

Henley-Vandergriff has sought a protective order against her husband, and custody of their seven-year-old daughter.

Court records show Josh Vandergriff has served federal time on marijuana charges, and his employer says he's suspended until these new criminal charges are settled.

Henley-Vandergriff -- seeking the public trust by running for public office -- has questioned why a couple's private problems became public.

Josh Vandergriff's issues became public, once he was charged with assault.


UPDATED 6/12/08 12:19 p.m.: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In a recorded phone conversation obtained by the Knoxville News-Sentinel, a woman reported to be married Knox County's Clerk candidate Amy Henley-Vandergriff alludes to a relationship with another man.

Henley-Vandergriff's husband Joshua Vandergriff apparently recorded the call. In the recording, Vandergriff can be heard talking about an affair he accuses Henley-Vandergriff of having with another man.

In the recording, Vandergriff asks the woman, reported to be Henley-Vandergriff, what a marriage counselor would say if they heard that she wanted to keep the marriage together for political reasons.

At one point, the female voice responds, "You think about after this election when I win, how our lives will change and we'll be living better than 98 percent of the people in Knox County."

When Vandergriff suggests the woman may lose, she insists she will win the election, and she refers to "real people that know what they're talking about" backing her, and who know how much she's put into her campaign.

Henley-Vandergriff had scheduled a press conference for Thursday, but postponed it until Friday.

You can listen to the entire recording obtained by the Knoxville News-Sentinel on their Web site.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Knox County Clerk candidate Amy Henley-Vandergriff was assaulted Tuesday night outside of a West Knox County restaurant.

Henley-Vandergriff's husband was arrested and charged after deputies say he attacked his wife and another man as she was being dropped off at the Mellow Mushroom on Campbell Station Road in West Knox County.

According to a warrant, when David T. Gionta pulled into the Mellow Mushroom parking lot to drop Henley-Vandergriff off at her vehicle. That's when deputies say Joshua Vandergriff, 30, yanked his wife from Gionta's vehicle and threw her to the ground.

The warrant says Vandergriff then "pulled the keys out of the vehicle and grabbed (Gionta) out of the vehicle, and started kicking him with his knee and then hit him in the head several times."

Gionta lost consciousness, according to the warrant, but Vandergriff reportedly continued to assault him.

Gionta suffered large bumps and lacerations to the head.

Henley-Vandergriff tells by phone that her husband didn't ask anyone any questions before the attack, and described Vandergriff as a "jealous husband with a wild imagination."

Henley-Vandergriff insists the 20-year-old Gionta was part of a group of people meeting to talk about her campaign for Knox County Clerk, and says Gionta was "just nice enough to give me a ride."

She insists there is no romantic relationship between her and Gionta, saying he's 10 years younger than she is, she's married, and has conducted herself appropriately.

Henley-Vandergriff says she and her husband separated a few years ago, but they've been trying to make the relationship work for the sake of their child.

She says the situation has nothing to do with her campaign for public office, but rather the safety of her child. She says she'll do whatever she has to do make sure the child is protected.

Joshua Vandergriff faces domestic assault and aggravated assault charges. He was released from jail Wednesday morning on a $6,500 bond.

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