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Jake Butcher Pleads Innocent To Tax Charges

March 12, 1985

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Financier Jake Butcher, former head of the $1.5 billion United American Bank chain, says he is innocent of charges that he conspired with two associates to underpay his income taxes for 1978-81.

Butcher, 48, pleaded innocent on Monday to tax evasion and conspiracy charges.

The indictment didn’t say by how much Butcher, a two-time Democratic candidate for governor and chief organizer for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, allegedly underpaid his taxes. Prosecutors would not say whether they have a specific figure.

The indictment also named financial consultant Jesse Barr and lawyer George W. Ridenour, and they also pleaded innocent on Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Robert Murrian released the men on bond.No trial date was set.

The indictment said Butcher, Barr and Ridenour ″would obtain loans by deceit which they did not intend to repay, the proceeds of which would be used for the personal benefit″ of Butcher.

Butcher and Ridenour were named in nine counts each, and Barr was named in two.

If convicted, Butcher and Ridenour could each face up to 29 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. The charges against Barr carry a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

Butcher and his brother, C.H. Butcher Jr., once owned or controlled 27 banks in Tennessee and Kentucky. Eleven Butcher-related banks have failed since UAB-Knoxville was declared insolvent Feb. 14, 1983.