‘Attacked and threatened’ | Knox Co. property owner cancels town hall meeting

The event was advertised as an opportunity to ask questions about possible events related to ‘social chaos or economic and/or political disruptions.’
The event was advertised as an opportunity to ask questions about possible events related to ‘social chaos or economic and/or political disruptions.’
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A town hall meeting has been canceled by the owner of the property where the event was to be held. Rich Levenson told WVLT News that he was attacked and threatened after a flyer circulated online advertising the meeting with Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

The event description read, “This meeting is for preparedness minded people with concerns and questions about possible events in Knox County or even our own neighborhoods due to social chaos or economic and/or political disruptions.”

The meeting was to be held on Aug. 20 at 1672 Harbor Crest Way in Knoxville. Levenson, the owner of the property, told WLVT News he had no connection to the event, rather his family was simply giving someone the right to use their barn.

“I donate my barn at times to friends, birthdays, weddings, celebrations of life, Church groups, and fundraisers for charity. It is not for rent. I told a friend he could use the barn for an event he wanted to have. I was not at all involved in this meeting,” Levenson wrote in a message to WVLT News Reporter Jared Austin.

On Monday, WVLT News reached out to Mayor Glen Jacobs’ office to clarify whether he intended to participate in the meeting, if he knew who organized the event, and the purpose of the meeting. His office did not respond.

On Tuesday, Mayor Jacobs tweeted a video of himself saying, “Here in Knox county cowardly and hypocritical far left radicals have threatened and intimidated our neighbors, even causing the cancellation of a planned peaceful assembly. The far left’s hyperbole and alarmism is tiresome, and their tactics are disgraceful, outrageous and unamerican.”

Rep. Gloria Johnson delivered a statement after Jacobs’ tweet.

A representative from Sheriff Tom Spangler’s office told WVLT News the sheriff was invited to ‘say a few words’ at the event and had it on his calendar. The spokesperson said the sheriff agreed to attend before seeing the flyer and its content.

“I have been attacked personally and my family also over this. It’s amazing how people spread that information with no knowledge. I have been in the real estate business for 45 years. I have dealt with legislators on both sides of the table. To be attacked and threatened it’s not the Knoxville I know and love. I am very disappointed. THERE WILL BE NO MEETING At my barn,” Levenson told WVLT News.

When asked why the meeting created such backlash, Levenson said, “That’s a great question... They figure they were having a far Right meeting because it was about awareness and preparedness I was attacked by the left! And I in my business have relations with both sides of the political spectrum.”

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