Robert McLean's body was discovered Sept. 25, 2007, at the rear of First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Tenn. (File photo)
Robert McLean’s body was discovered early Tuesday morning behind the First Christian Church, the Shelbyville chief of police confirmed.
“He died from a gunshot wound to the head by a .38 pistol,” Police Chief Austin Swing said.
The body of McLean, 59, was discovered by the church's pastor, the Rev. Bryan Elliott. Officers said the last time anyone heard from McLean was about 11 p.m. He was found in a grassy area behind the church near the rear parking lot. His vehicle was parked nearby.
A suicide note was left. An investigating officer said the note indicated McLean had committed suicide and included a phone number to notify a family member. No foul play is suspected. The note also included information about funeral arrangements.
The case is still under investigation, Swing said.
McLean, of Charleston Court, was the target of an investigation by several federal agencies and had been forced into involuntary bankruptcy by creditors, numbering in the hundreds, who claimed he owed them more than $20 million that had been invested with him.
A high-profile philanthropist, McLean's financial troubles became apparent in the early summer when he was named in seven lawsuits claiming he failed to pay investors who held personal promissory notes. The largest lawsuit sought $8.9 million in payments for Ron Vannatta, Bette R. and Martha Vannatta, all of Shelbyville, Melissa Vannatta Keck of Boston and the First Christian Church Scholarship Fund in Shelbyville.
Federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation served a search warrant on McLean’s Murfreesboro investment office July 20 on South Church Street.
McLean was eventually forced into involuntary bankrupcty proceedings.
Sales of five homes and personal property of McLean will be used to pay some 370 creditors who filed claims against him in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Bankruptcy Trustee Riober Waldschmidt said a meeting with creditors scheduled for Wednesday will still be held and the case will "still be administered just as any other case would be."
Waldschmidt said he would give a report on the status of the case.
McLean had been scheduled to appear to address creditors' questions.
Documents filed in the court showed McLean owned five homes valued at $3.8 million, enough to pay the largest credit claim of $3.245 million sought by creditor Charles A. Coffey of Knoxville.
Several creditors filed more than $20 million in claims against McLean in state courts, but the federal bankruptcy court is now handling the assets of McLean’s that will be distributed to the creditors.
Many of the 370 claims did not list an amount. The lowest amount is $8 sought by a newspaper.
McLean listed five homes with mortgages from Countrywide and several banks:
• His former $638,000 home at 1455 Charleston Court in Murfreesboro.
• A $1.5 million vacation home on Center Hill Lake in Sparta.
• A $1.4 million vacation condo in Destin, Fla.
• A $170,000 rental property on state Route 96 East (Lascassas Highway).
• A rented condo on East Northfield Boulevard.
The trustee also listed among assets $800,000 in bank stock.
McLean’s personal property will be sold during an auction Oct. 20 at the National Guard Armory in Murfreesboro.
Some of the property for sale includes a framed Robert E. Lee framed lithograph, Earl Scruggs Mastertone banjo and signed handbill, MTSU helmet, grandfather clock, banjos, guitars, a Steinway piano, Baldwin grand piano, upright piano, 2003 Lincoln limousine, 1998 Jeep Wrangler, a 1980 MGB sports car and $2,500 worth of unopened liquor.
McLean’s creditors include the MTSU Foundation Board of Trustees for $167,747, and for unknown claims the Country Music Foundation, Friends of Music at MTSU, the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office, the Internal Revenue Service, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Steinway Piano Gallery, the state attorney general’s office in behalf of MTSU, individuals, family members, utilities, credit cards, banks, his accountant, attorneys, governments, jewelers, a dentist, doctor and florist.