Money on the Run

Tennessee business investment program lacks safeguards, at risk of fraud


The Tennessee comptroller has found that a Tennessee state investment program lacks safeguards, has failed to pursue money collection, and is at risk of fraud and abuse, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A report released today by the state comptroller leveled a withering attack at the TNInvestco program, which is managed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and was set up under former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The department did not establish adequate internal controls, did not perform adequate reviews and did not submit reports as required, auditors wrote. The lack of oversight resulted in “serious and pervasive noncompliance with program requirements and increasing the risk of fraud, waste, and abuse,” according to the report.

The comptroller audited the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

The TNInvestco program sought “to stimulate job growth by granting $149,220,016 to 10 Tennessee-based investment firms which were then required to invest the money in what they saw as promising startups,” the Free Press reported.

The comptroller’s report listed five findings, including board members failing to file conflict-of-interest forms and the Department failing “to establish the proper organizational structure or develop adequate internal controls.”