Thursday, February 22, 2007

Robert Chavez suspended from presidency of Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Robert Chavez

Chamber under investigation

Original press releases below

Robert Chavez has been temporarily suspended from serving as President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, its board of directors announced in a press release yesterday. The Tennessean is also reporting that "[t]he Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is under investigation by the Charitable Solicitations and Gaming section of the Tennessee Secretary of State's office, Todd Kelley, the division's director said Wednesday."

The Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (THCC) is one of four Hispanic chambers in Middle Tennessee (the four chambers were recently reviewed here).

Chavez was the subject of last week's Nashville Scene cover story, in which allegations about Chavez and his conduct cast a negative light on the Chamber leader. The article also stated that Chavez suffers from a lack of trust among Hispanic Tennesseans, which may be supported by the relatively low representation of Hispanics in the THCC membership - 18% of all members - compared to the Nashville Area and the Franklin Hispanic chambers, both of which have about 50% Hispanic membership (see article here).

The story of Chavez's suspension was picked up by WKRN (including an interview with Chavez following the suspension), the Nashville Scene, the Nashville Business Journal, Newschannel5 WTVF, the Nashville Post, and The Tennessean.

The THCC press release, and a responsive press release by the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, are below.

Chavez's personal bio on the THCC web site is here.


The Board of Directors of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has
voted unanimously to suspend its president, Robert Chavez, from serving
in that capacity for a minimum of ninety days pending further actions by
the board.

The board's actions were based upon a recent cover story in The Scene
which called into question certain actions of the president and the
board's concerns over the resulting negative implications of the article
on the Chamber.

In a subsequent action, the board appointed as acting president Ramon
Cisneros, the Chamber's vice president.

During the period of suspension, the THCC Board members will review all
available information and make decisions based on their findings.


The NAHCC Board of Directors through its chairman Marc A. Walwyn releases the following statement:

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's decision to fully investigate the allegations brought against its president in relation to his THCC involvement.

Despite the fact of not having a established relationship with the THCC, some of their Board Members such as Miguel Torres and Ricardo Santiago are recognized by our organization for their active participation and support of advancement opportunities for our emergent Hispanic business community and community at large.

The NAHCC fully supports its members, business owners and the community and will provide any and all resources to ensure ethical business practices are followed.

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