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Executive Summary

Senator Bob Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack owns a company that
has purchased millions of dollars in real estate around Chattanooga in
recent years. He acquired at least five properties near a Volkswagen plant
that Corker was instrumental in bringing to Chattanooga, including one
acquisition just prior to an announced expansion of operations. VW’s
investments, of which Womack had advance knowledge, substantially
increased the value of his properties.
Volkswagen’s multibillion dollar investment in its Chattanooga facilities,
which Corker began negotiating as mayor and has continued pushing as
senator, is one of his signal accomplishments as a public official. The plant’s
2011 inauguration and subsequent expansion represented an economic
boon to the entire region, and local real estate prices have leapt as a result.
Several of Womack’s properties are a short drive of the Volkswagen plant.
One of the tracts is located just three miles away from the plant, while
another is just four miles away. Three more properties are located less than
six miles away. The assessed value of virtually all these houses has
significantly increased since Womack’s company purchased them, as the
new plant has delivered a boost to the local economy.
Womack’s firm acquired each of those five properties before Volkswagen
announced it would expand operations at the plant in 2014, and it
purchased one of the houses just three days before the announcement.
Womack and Corker flew to Germany to attend the announcement of the
expansion, indicating that he had advance notice.
Womack’s company also purchased properties at discounted prices from
federal government entities that Corker oversees on the Senate Banking
Committee, including one of those close to the Volkswagen plant.
Womack and his company’s co-owner spent nearly $1.8 million on his 24
total properties, but they are worth far more today. The Hamilton County
assessor now values them at more than $2.1 million, though county
assessor’s typically underestimate market prices. Commercial real estate
platform Zillow values the homes collectively at more $2.4 million. Womack
has reported earning $225,000 and $668,000 in rental income between
2012 and 2014.
It is unclear where Womack secured the capital for his investments. The
only supplementary income Womack reported prior to 2012 besides his
salary for Corker was $48,000 to $141,000 in rental income he had amassed
during the previous six years. He also reported that he received a $25,000
cash gift from Corker in 2014. Womack’s disclosures therefore state that
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with just his salary, this rental income, and the gift from Corker, he was able
to split the cost of $1.8 million in real estate purchases, nearly half of which
came in 2012, without even selling either of the two residences he and his
wife already owned.
Womack’s purchases have left him with depleted savings and significant
debt. In the case of two of the purchases, he owes money to the executive of
a mortgage insurance company that stood to benefit from Corker-sponsored
legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as any
number of smaller risk-sharing initiatives Corker has pushed.
Womack, a Chattanooga native, is a longtime Corker loyalist who began
working for him as communications director at the outset of Corker’s
mayoral term in 2001. He worked on Corker’s Senate campaign in 2006 and
has served as his chief of staff since Corker’s first year in Washington.
Senate travel records indicate that Womack still primarily resides in his
hometown—an unusual arrangement for a chief of staff—where he and a
business partner rent out 24 properties their business has purchased since
2012.
Womack’s Background
Womack, a lifelong Chattanooga resident, was born in March 1973 to
parents Larry and Colleen Womack. He attended the Chattanooga School
for the Arts & Sciences and later the University of Tennessee at
Chattanooga. Todd is married to Katherine (Katie) Womack, a salesperson at
a multilevel marketing firm. The couple has at least three children, Laura
Kate, Rebekah and John. Womack belongs to Woodland Park Baptist Church,
where he appears to be an active member.
Before joining Corker’s mayoral staff, Womack worked in the marketing
department at Erlanger Medical Center and went on to serve as public
relations director for a Chattanooga-based insurance company called
UnumProvident Corporation.
Just after his election to the Chattanooga mayoralty, Corker hired Womack
as communications director in 2001. His responsibilities quickly expanded
to oversight of government operations and programs. He also served as a
liaison between the city and local, state and federal officials.
Womack emerged as a key member of the Corker brain trust. According to
one city council member, when Corker essentially abandoned his mayoral
duties in the final year of his term to focus on his campaign, it was Womack
who ran the show in Corker’s absence. “Most of the council referred to
Todd Womack as ‘mayor,’” said council member Leamon Pierce.
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After Corker’s mayoral term ended in April 2005, incoming mayor Ron
Littlefield hired Womack to help with the transition. The stint was short
lived, as he returned to Corker’s side to serve first as his Senate campaign’s
political director, and then as campaign communications director.
When Corker won election to the Senate, he named Womack his state
director and tasked him with overseeing his six offices in Tennessee. Corker
then promoted Womack to chief of staff just one month after he took office.
He replaced David Armand DeKeyser, a former lobbyist at Kilpatrick
Stockton who had served as Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff for eight years.
Womack has also been listed in FEC filings as a consultant to Rock City
PAC, Corker’s leadership PAC, since 2009.
Congressional expense reports indicate that Womack works from
Chattanooga rather than Washington D.C. The arrangement comes at a
significant cost to Corker’s staff budget, as
Womack frequently travels between the two cities. Over a 12-month period
in 2011 and 2012, Womack made 33 trips between Chattanooga and
Washington D.C. at an average cost of $1,146 per ticket and total cost of
nearly $38,000. That amount would have been enough to hire another fulltime staffer.
Womack’s continued residence in Chattanooga may have helped him garner
support for a potential 2012 mayoral bid, which he was reportedly
considering. However, in May 2012 he decided against running for the
position, citing that he still felt he had work to do with Corker.
In April 2014, Womack, Corker, and a Corker press aide were subpoenaed
by the United Auto Workers, calling for them to testify before a National
Labor Relations Board hearing where the UAW was challenging a union
vote that it narrowly lost at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant. Corker had
been instrumental in combating the UAW’s efforts to unionize the facility,
and a Nashville TV station obtained emails showing that Womack was in
direct contact with anti-union organizers who were brought in to fight the
UAW. Womack then forwarded those emails to staffers for Governor Bill
Haslam who had offered controversial tax incentives that were attached to
the outcome of the union vote.
Corker’s involvement in the fight against the UAW is particularly
contentious for the union’s supporters. Right before the vote in 2014, the
senator publically stated that if workers at the Chattanooga plant voted
against the union, Volkswagen would give the plant a new product to build.
One labor expert said that the comments could have been considered
interference under federal labor law and grounds to have the election
postponed and rescheduled for a later date.
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For Corker, the fight against the UAW was not just an ideological stand
against union interests, but also an effort to help an economic development
project that is a key part of his legacy. His role in bringing Volkswagen to
Chattanooga dates back to before he was in the Senate. As mayor, he was
instrumental in choosing the location of land that the city acquired to lure a
large employer to the region. When Volkswagen decided in 2008 that it
would build a production facility on the land, a portion of the negotiations
occurred around Corker’s dining room table.
Womack’s Properties
Womack and his business partner Ryan Breneman own 24 properties in
the Chattanooga area through a shared LLC called Generation 4
Properties. The homes are described as rental properties on Womack’s
congressional disclosure forms. Womack and Breneman registered
Generation 4 Properties in Tennessee on March 22, 2012, with longtime
Corker attorney James M. Haley IV serving as the registered agent.
Properties in Close Proximity to Volkswagen
Five houses belonging to Generation 4 Properties are less than six miles
from the Volkswagen plant. Womack himself purchased the first one of these
properties on October 17, 2012, in a transaction described in greater detail
in the section titled, Womack Purchases from Government Entities.
Womack and Breneman acquired two more of these properties in their own
names on December 21, 2012 for $54,000 and $28,000, and then
transferred them to the company at no cost on March 26, 2013.
The former of the properties is located in Ooltewah, TN just three miles
away from the Volkswagen plant. The Hamilton County Assessor values the
property at more than $115,000, and real estate company Remax values it
at $135,000, which is two and a half times the price that Womack purchased
it for three and a half years ago.
The latter property is located less than six miles from the Volkswagen plant,
or 11 minutes away in driving time according to Google Maps. The county
currently assesses the property at $60,000, and real estate website Zillow
values it at nearly $79,000, almost three times what Womack and Breneman
originally purchased it for.
Corker has worked closely with Volkswagen officials to bring the plant to
Tennessee and to increase its production capabilities. He traveled to
Volkswagen’s headquarters in Germany twice between January and March
2013. While Volkswagen was tightlipped in 2013 about whether it was
considering boosting the plant’s production capabilities, it announced
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expansion plans in July 2014 after the UAW vote to unionize failed earlier
that year.
Corker and Womack had at least some advance notice of Volkswagen’s
plans, which appear to have increased the value of Womack’s property. In
February 2014, right before the UAW vote, Corker said he had been
“assured” that Volkswagen would reward the plant with a new product to
build if workers rejected union representation, despite Volkswagen’s public
statements to the contrary.
Generation 4 Properties purchased another property on July 11, 2014
located just four miles away from the Volkswagen plant. The company
bought the house just three days before Volkswagen announced its
Chattanooga expansion, which it said would create 2,000 new jobs at the
company and include a $600 million investment in Chattanooga. Both
Womack and Corker were at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Germany for the
announcement, meaning that Womack bought this property with insider
knowledge of the plant’s imminent expansion.
State and local officials indicated that they expected the expansion to have
an even bigger impact on the surrounding area than just those 2,000 jobs,
as it would give the plant the capabilities to produce even more vehicles in
the future and help spur additional economic development in the
community. In its July 11 purchase, Generation 4 Properties paid $97,500
for the house; the county currently values it at $135,000 and Zillow values it
at $144,000.
The only property Womack’s company purchased near the plant that has yet
to increase much in value is one it acquired for $70,000 on November 30,
2012. It five and a half miles away from Volkswagen plant and 11 minutes
away from the facility in driving time. The county assessor still values the
property at $70,000, and Zillow pegs its market price at $80,000.

Company History
Womack Purchases from Government Entities
Womack purchased three of his properties from government entities,
including two federal entities that Corker oversees through his post on the
Senate Banking Committee.
Generation 4 Properties acquired one of the first five houses it purchased on
April 1, 2012 from Womack, who had purchased the house from Freddie
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Mac for $48,000 on November 16, 2011. Corker had previously supported a
bill that created a new agency to regulate Freddie Mac, and he would later
sponsored GSE reform legislation to wind it down and replace it. Womack
had previously owned the home in the 1990s and sold it to a relative in
2000. The property is now worth nearly $77,000 according to the county
assessor’s office, and is worth more than $84,000 according to Zillow.
On October 17, 2012, Womack’s company purchased a property from the
Department of Housing and Urban Development for only $26,000. HUD
had acquired the property just six months earlier from the Tennessee
Housing Development Agency for $64,000, equaling the price the state
paid for it in 2009. The property is located less than six miles from the
Volkswagen plant, or 11 minutes away in driving time according to Google
Maps.
In April 2013, Womack and his wife acquired a small parcel of land near
their residence on N. Crest Road from the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton
County for just $350. The county assessor’s office currently lists the
property’s total value at $3,000.
Company History and Additional Purchases
Generation 4 Properties’ made many of its initial purchases from family
members. It purchased three of its first five properties in April 2012 from
Womack’s parents; two of the three belonged to his parents’ company
Generation 3 Properties Inc. Generation 4 bought a fourth property from
Breneman and his wife, and who sold it to the LLC for the same price they
paid in November 2011.
Womack and Breneman purchased 11 properties at a cost of $725,000
during the company’s first year. The average price spent per house was
$66,000. Between March 2013 and April 2016, Generation 4 Properties
purchased 13 more properties at a total cost of over $1 million. Four of the
houses cost more than $100,000 and the average price per house was
$81,500.
In additional to Generation 4 Properties, Womack and his wife currently
own three Chattanooga properties in their own name. One of the houses
appears to be their primary residence at 604 N. Crest Road, which they
purchased in March 2000 for $165,000 according to a public records
database. The sale also included a nearby tract of land where part of their
driveway lies.
Womack also purchased a condo in Washington D.C. in December 2008 for
$270,000. He describes this condo as a rental property on his congressional

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disclosures and has reported earning income from the property each year
since 2009.
Ryan Breneman
Breneman, born in July 1975 and married to Virginia Breneman, works as a
sales executive Alere, a large medical device company. Before taking on the
role of “strategic business executive” in May 2015, he was an account
executive at Alere starting in February 2011. Breneman previously worked
as an account executive at Fisher Healthcare from 2001 to 2010, and
before that he was a sales representative at Erlanger Medical Center from
1998 to 2001, where he likely worked with Womack. He is also a deacon at
Woodland Park Baptist Church, where Womack is a member. Breneman is a
graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Womack’s Spending and Income
In total, Womack and Breneman spent nearly $1.8 million on the 24
properties they have purchased since 2012. Assuming the pair split the cost
of the purchases, Womack would have needed to come up with $900,000 in
financing over a four-and-a-half-year period without even selling either of
the two residences he and his wife already owned. Womack has reported
that his primary source of income during this period was his salary from
working for Corker, and it is unclear where he secured the money to launch
Generation 4 Properties.
Womack has earned $1.7 million in salary since 2006. He earned a Senate
salary of $112,000 during the 2007 fiscal year, $163,000 in 2008, $167,000
in 2009, and $169,000 each year since 2010. He also collects an annual
salary of $26,500 from Rock City PAC. In 2006, Corker’s Senate campaign
paid him nearly $94,000, and he also received $16,000 from the city of
Chattanooga that year.
Womack’s rental property income prior to Generation 4 Properties also
served as a small secondary source of money leading up to when he started
purchasing properties with Breneman. He reported collecting between
$48,000 and $141,000 in rent between 2006 and 2011. This is the only
additional income that Womack reported earning before the company made
the bulk of its purchases, as it bought nearly half of its properties in 2012 at
a total price of $725,000.
Womack’s rental income increased substantially when Generation 4
Properties began acquiring assets. In 2012, Womack reported between
$41,000 and $120,000 in rental income. His rental income further increased

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to between $80,000 and $235,000 in 2013, and between $103,500 and
$313,000 in 2014.
Womack’s only additional source of funding was a $25,000 cash gift from
Corker on December 10, 2014. Womack was the only member of Corker’s
staff to report receving a gift from the senator.
The gift may have been a handout to a cash-strapped Womack; it came at a
time when he was not only highly leveraged with mortgage debt, but may
have held as little as $16,000 in his personal checking and savings accounts
despite being married with three children.
The most that Womack could have held in those accounts that year was
$65,000, which means that Corker’s gift represented a minimum of 38% of
his personal savings. Generation 4 Properties also owns a bank account that
held between $15,000 and $50,000 at the time, but it is unlikely that those
funds would have been avaliable to Womack for personal use.

The Corker gift in Womack’s Personal Financial Disclosure.

Womack’s Financing
Womack listed 16 mortgages on his 2014 financial disclosure, which is the
most recent filing available on Legistorm. The value of these mortgages is
between $775,000 and $1.8 million. With the exception of a mortgage on his
primary residence, the loans are tied to Womack’s rental properties
throughout Chattanooga.
Most of the mortgage creditors are the people that Womack and Breneman
purchased the properties from, including Womack’s parents Larry and
Terry, David Chaffin, Burma Haney, Carlton Hodnett, William Higgins Dye
Jr., Wayne Brantley, Brady Harwood, Beki Campbell, and Green Tree
Servicing.
The most notable of these creditors is Wayne Brantley, who Womack
purchased two homes from in 2013 at a combined price of $210,000.
Womack’s two liabilities to Brantley total between $100,000 and $200,000,
and each one carries an interest rate of 6%. Brantley is three years older
than Womack and also attended the University of Tennessee at

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Chattanooga, meaning there is at least one year where the pair were likely
in school together.
Brantley is the chief information officer of the Miniter Group, which
describes itself as one of the nation’s largest mortgage portfolio insurance
providers. Miniter Group provides insurance to over 550 lenders in 45
states on the securing collateral – the homes – for the mortgages in the
bank’s portfolio.
Mortgage insurers would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of GSE reform
legislation that has been championed by Corker. The bills he has pushed
would shift lending risks away from the government-guaranteed Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac, and toward private companies like Miniter. Corker has
continued to push for increased risk-sharing even as his efforts to wind
down Fannie and Freddie have failed to come to fruition. In October 2015,
for example, Corker and Mark Warner were the keynote speakers at a
Bipartisan Policy Center event on risk sharing, during which they were
joined by Blackrock’s Kevin Chavers, FHFA official Bob Ryan, MBA
economist Michael Fratantoni, and Harvard’s Nic Retsinas, a longtime
skeptic of Fannie and Freddie’s role in housing finance.
If banks were to take on a larger segment of the mortgage market as a
result of Corker’s GSE reform efforts, they would also need more insurance
to cover the risk of holding an increased number of collateral assets that
secure the loans. Miniter Group is a member of the Mortgage Bankers
Association, a trade group that has been one of the most visible proponents
of GSE reform.
Some of Womack’s loans carry high interest rates. Green Tree is a notorious
subprime lender, and Womack’s two liabilities stemming from the properties
purchased from them are a 15-year mortgage with a 7.5% rate worth
between $15,000 and $50,000, and a 20-year mortgage with an 8% rate
worth between $50,000 and $100,000. Other loans are at below-market
rates. By contrast, Womack’s mortgage from Brady Harwood carries just a
2% interest rate over 13 years.
In addition to the creditors he purchased properties from, Womack has also
borrowed money
from Andrew Johnson
Bank, a small community bank with seven branches in East Tennessee.
Womack’s three loans from Andrew Johnson Bank are all 20-year adjustable
rate mortgages with a current rate of 5.5%. Womack also holds a mortgage
worth between $15,000 and $50,000 with Malcolm Godwin, a Chattanooga
home inspector. Godwin is friends with Womack on Facebook.
Womack secured a 30-year mortgage at 6% from Countrywide-Bank of
America on his primary residence in 2008. He refinanced the loan, worth
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between $100,000 and $250,000, in 2010 at a rate of 4.5%, with a 5-year
adjustable rate. Womack also incurred a 15-year mortgage on a rental
property in 2004 from Region’s Mortgage at a rate of 5.375%. He paid off
the mortgage, worth between $50,000 and $100,000, by 2013.

Corker’s Insider Real Estate Deals
Womack’s longtime boss came under fire a decade ago for using his position
to increase the value of his property before selling it.
After Corker became mayor in 2001, he oversaw a series of zoning and
traffic changes that boosted the values of some of his commercial real
estate holdings across Chattanooga. These include introducing two-way
traffic to the streets around some of his downtown office buildings and
rescinding a conservation easement in 2003 that allowed him to sell a
parcel of land to Wal-Mart. Corker also appears to have violated the terms
of the blind trust he ostensibly set up to manage his assets while in the post.
The Wal-Mart affair is extensively documented in litigation. In 2003,
Corker’s administration approved the construction of a road through a local
nature preserve for a new shopping center. Days later, the Corker Group
sold a piece of adjacent land to Wal-Mart for $4.6 million, even though it
was protected by a conservation easement. The deal triggered lawsuits by
environmental groups, eventually resulting in a court order requiring
Corker to testify about his role in the deal in the fall of 2006 in the midst of
his Senate campaign. The case was quickly settled.
In theory Corker should have had nothing to do with the sale, because he
claimed he put his assets in a blind trust in 2001 after he became mayor.
However, in 2006 Corker was accused of ignoring the requirements of the
trust. According to emails disclosed to the media that year:
Corker met often with employees from his private companies while
mayor from 2001 to 2005, and he shared business tips with others.
Corker also got help organizing his 2001 mayoral campaign from City
Hall, where a government secretary passed on voting lists and set up
meetings for the millionaire commercial real estate developer.
Corker’s own emails from his tenure as mayor vanished without explanation
in 2006 during his Senate campaign, but a partial record of his daily
activities survived through his assistant’s emails.
CBL & Associates
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The FBI and SEC are currently investigating Corker’s connections to CBL &
Associates, a commercial real estate firm based in Chattanooga. The
investigation pertains to whether CBL has falsified its financial statements
on loan applications, but the agencies are also interested in Corker’s
relationship with the firm. He has made millions of dollars from short-term
trades in the company’s stock in recent years, many of which he did not
originally report on his congressional financial disclosures. Corker is
personally close with with senior executives at CBL, many of whom have
been donors to his campaigns, and he also worked for a CBL subcontractor
after graduating from college.

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