Press Release from the State of Tennessee, June 13, 2019:

  • Five-day economic development trip will include stops in Japan and South Korea
  • Trip will focus on recruiting additional foreign direct investment to Tennessee
  • First international trip for Gov. Lee since taking office in Jan. 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe will travel to Asia June 17 through June 21 for an economic development trip designed to strengthen ties with Asian businesses and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tennessee. This will be Gov. Lee’s first international economic development trip.

During the five-day trip, Lee and Rolfe will discuss Tennessee’s business advantages with a number of Asian businesses interested in establishing operations in the Southeast U.S. The trip will include stops in South Korea and Japan.

“I look forward to traveling to Asia next week on my first international recruitment trip and having the opportunity to meet with business leaders as we showcase the many advantages of doing business in Tennessee,” Lee said. “We are proud to be home to more than 1,000 foreign-owned companies and will continue to demonstrate our commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment that will help companies from around the globe grow and succeed in the Volunteer State.”

“More than 153,000 Tennesseans are employed by foreign-owned companies. By investing in a broader international footprint, we are ensuring that Tennessee is deeply rooted in the new global economy,” Rolfe said. “I am hopeful that this trip will further strengthen our partnerships with Korean and Japanese companies as we continue to promote international recruitment and expansions in Tennessee.”

Japan is Tennessee’s top country for foreign direct investment. There are nearly 200 Japanese companies that have invested $19.5 billion in the state. These companies employ over 53,300 people in 51 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

Top Japanese companies located in Tennessee include Bridgestone, CalsonicKansei, DENSO, JTEKT and Nissan.

There are 15 Korean companies in Tennessee that employ a workforce of more than 3,100 and have invested over $1 billion in nine counties across the state.

Top Korean companies doing business in Tennessee include ATLASBX, Hankook Tire, LG Electronics, Sam Dong and SL Tennessee.

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, June 14, 2019:

Link: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/news/2019/6/14/tennessee-offers-new-incentives-to-provide-equal-access-to-child-care.html

Tennessee Offers New Incentives to Provide Equal Access to Child Care

Extra money will help parents who live in child care deserts or work non-traditional hours

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) announced its second major change this year to help families participating in the Child Care Certificate Program access quality care.

Beginning in July, TDHS is adding a 15% bonus to child care payment subsidy rates in the below counties identified as either distressed or child care deserts. Availability of quality child care is vital to the economic prosperity of every community. TDHS is making a deliberate investment in these counties to incentivize child care providers in strengthening the quality of their programs, increasing access, and helping children get off to a strong start in life.

• Child Care Desert Counties: Shelby, Montgomery, Sumner, Robertson, Davidson, Warren, Sevier, Greene, Hawkins, Jefferson, Cumberland, Bradley, Rhea, White, Macon, Madison, Hardin, Chester, Lawrence, Marshall, and Rutherford.

• Distressed Counties: Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock, and Cocke.

Beginning in July, TDHS will also provide a 15% bonus above the current subsidy rate to providers who offer care during non-traditional hours. This means the child is receiving a majority of care between the hours of 6:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M.

The Child Care Certificate Program provides assistance to parents with a variety of economic needs. The Smart Steps Program provides child care payment assistance to families who are working or pursuing post-secondary education and who meet certain income eligibility requirements. The Child Care Certificate Program also serves teen parents enrolled in high school through the Teen Parent Assistance for Child Care Program and families taking part in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program known as Families First, parents transitioning off Families First, and children in foster care.

Under these changes, a child care provider in Davidson County that’s currently receiving $155 dollars a week for a toddler on subsidized care would receive an extra $23 dollars for operating in a child care desert and an extra $23 dollars if the child is receiving care during non-traditional hours.

“These changes recognize that access to quality affordable child care is an essential part of the thriving Tennessee we are building.” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “We know there is a need for child care during non-traditional hours to support parents who work in all industries in the state, especially manufacturing. Our research has also discovered that we can provide further support to providers who offer these essential child care services in counties considered to be deserts.”

The new bonus payments for non-traditional care and child care deserts follow another TDHS change announced earlier this year to incentivize more providers to participate in the Child Care Certificate Program by raising weekly reimbursement rates.

Tennessee has approximately 4,200 regulated child care agencies that are eligible to participate in the Child Care Certificate Program. Approximately 1,500 providers are currently participating. Providers who wish to join the Certificate Program should contact the state office nearest them https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/child-care-assistance-office-locator.html

Parents seeking information about enrolling in the Child Care Certificate Program should visit the TDHS website https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/child-care-payment-assistance.html

To support parents, TDHS also provides tips for choosing child care and an interactive database where parents can search for providers in their area https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/find-child-care.html

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, June 13, 2019:

TVA must move material from coal ash ponds to a lined landfill or recycle it

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III today announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of a lawsuit against TVA and the management of coal combustion residuals at its Gallatin plant.

“We are pleased to bring this matter to a positive conclusion,” said David Salyers, commissioner of TDEC. “This settlement will resolve environmental issues at the Gallatin Fossil Plant and we look forward to continuing our work with TVA and non-governmental organizations to further protect our environment and our citizens.”

“We are very pleased with the diligence and hard work from all parties involved in reaching this compromise and settling the matters in dispute,” said Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.

The settlement requires TVA to remove approximately 12 million cubic yards of coal combustion residuals (CCR) from its active coal ash ponds at the Gallatin Fossil Plant, as well as remediate the area, in accordance with Tennessee law. Under the agreement, TVA may either place the excavated material in a lined, permitted landfill or recycle the material for beneficial reuse in concrete or other construction materials.

The settlement announced today also requires TVA to complete a final environmental assessment report to identify the extent of soil, surface water and groundwater contamination at the facility.

“This agreement to resolve the Gallatin litigation with the State and TDEC underscores TVA’s commitment to safety and the environment,” said Jeff Lyash, TVA’s President and CEO.

“After a thorough review of the scientific evidence, and with the availability of an onsite lined landfill, TVA worked with TDEC to determine that it is the best interest of our customers, the State of Tennessee, and most importantly, our neighbors in the Gallatin community to remove the ash from the existing wet impoundments. We will continue to work with TDEC and other regulators to determine site-specific solutions that are in the best interest of all those we serve, not just at Gallatin, but at all our sites.”

TDEC filed the lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court in 2015, alleging violations of the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act as a result of TVA’s coal ash disposal practices at the Gallatin plant. In November 2014, the Tennessee Clean Water Network and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association sent a 60-day notice of violation letter to TVA, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and TDEC under a provision of the federal Clean Water Act, alleging multiple violations at the Gallatin plant related to its operations of the ash ponds at the site.

“After years of tireless advocacy by our clients, Tennessee Clean Water Network and Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, we’re pleased to have been able to work with the State of Tennessee to achieve a resolution that will safely remove and clean up coal ash from TVA’s leaking, unlined pits at Gallatin,” said Amanda Garcia, Managing Attorney for SELC’s Tennessee office. “This case has helped to protect the Cumberland River, a precious resource for drinking water and recreation in Middle Tennessee.”

TVA will have to close units at its coal ash pond complex in Gallatin by removing coal combustion residuals and remediating the area consistent with the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Act. Under the agreement, TVA must develop a plan for the removal of the material and submit the plan to TDEC for approval.

TVA must submit its plan by no later than September 30, 2020. TVA must also provide a copy of its proposed plan for removal to the Tennessee Clean Water Network and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. The citizens groups will have 30 days to provide comments on the proposal and provide a copy of their comments to TVA.

TVA must complete removal of the ash pond complex within 20 years of TDEC’s final approval of the plan.

TVA began operation of the Gallatin plant in 1956. Coal combustion residuals generated at the plant have been sluiced and treated in a series of on-site, unlined settling and stilling ponds.

The settlement of the lawsuit allows TVA to conduct a treatability test and field demonstration at the facility’s legacy CCR disposal site for five years. At the conclusion of the project, TVA will submit a corrective action/risk assessment plan to TDEC outlining corrective measures for closure of the legacy site and remediation of groundwater contamination.

The case has been before Davidson County Chancellor Russell T. Perkins.

Press Release from the Tennessee Historical Commission, June 6, 2019:

NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Historical Commission today announced the addition of eight properties to the National Register of Historic Places. They include a residence, general store, bank, former hospital and historic districts. The National Register nomination for Clover Bottom, the offices of the Tennessee Historical Commission (State Historic Preservation Office), was updated to include additional history and structures.

“Across Tennessee, communities continue to recognize and retain meaningful places that contribute to our state’s unique identity,” said Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer Patrick McIntyre. “This group of listings includes a former hospital in Memphis being revitalized using Federal tax credits, a former general store in Granville that is a focus for heritage tourism, and a large rural district in Bedford County in the heart of Tennessee Walking Horse country.”

The sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places are:

Brown-Hancock House, Woodbury

Brown-Hancock House (Woodbury – Cannon County)

This 2-story brick I-house was built in 1869 and remodeled 1916-1918. Principal design features of the house include the 1-bay, 2-story pedimented portico, multi-pane windows, bracketed eaves and the sleeping porch and solarium. Originally the house was embellished with Italianate details but the 20th century redesign by Nashville architect Thomas W. Gardner updated the building with a modern classical design. His designs included a 2-story ell and the sleeping porch on the exterior and wood trim in the interior. Gardner was well-known for designing churches and for years was in partnership in Nashville with Edward Dougherty. The 2-story I-house with the 2-story portico has been documented as prevalent in Middle Tennessee and is often called the Middle Tennessee I-house.

Sparta Residential Historic District, boundary increase (Sparta – White County)

Historic home in Sparta

Twenty-nine houses were included in the Sparta Residential Historic District when it was listed in 1991. The district was listed for its collection of late 19th and early 20th architectural styles. Adjacent to the district is the house at 8 College Street that was added to the district with this listing. Constructed circa 1870, the Folk Victorian style gable front and wing house was restored in 2018. Important historic features such as the weatherboard siding, wood trim, and historic windows were revived, making this house eligible to be added to the existing district.

Sutton General Store, Granville

T.B. Sutton General Store (Granville – Jackson County)

The T.B. Sutton General Store was built in Granville in 1880 and purchased by Thomas Benjamin Sutton in 1925. During most of the time the store operated you could purchase dry goods, groceries, agricultural products, get a haircut and much more. The “whittling porch” on the façade was a favorite place for people to visit. Sutton stopped operating the store in 1968, and although it was open for a few more years, it was no longer the commercial and social center of the town. The changes in transportation and construction of the Center Hill Dam meant fewer people lived in or traveled to the area. In disrepair, the 2-story weatherboarded store was extensively renovated around 2000. This occurred at the same time others were looking at the potential for renovating buildings in the town and beginning “Granville Heritage Day.” In 2007 the owners donated the store building to Historic Granville Incorporated. Today, the store is the center of a thriving heritage tourism industry in Granville.

Thompson Creek Rural Historic District (Wartrace – Bedford County)

Comprised of 3,765 acres in Bedford County, the Thompson Creek Rural Historic District represents over 150 years of settlement patterns, agricultural history and architectural history. The collection of houses, farms and outbuildings spans the time from the earliest settlement circa 1810 to 1968 when patterns and development in the region were changing. Important to the continued settlement and farming of the region were the Duck River and Thompson Creek, which provided transportation and rich farmland. Farms produced corn, hay, wheat and livestock for consumption and sale. Buildings range from Italianate and Greek Revival influences to the bungalow form. In addition to this National Register nomination, a larger document detailing the history of Bedford County Agriculture was prepared as part of a mitigation for a federally funded road project.

Clover Bottom Farm Boundary Increase (Nashville – Davidson County)

Clover Bottom Mansion was listed in 1975 as an excellent local example of the Italianate style. The current nomination changes the name of the National Register listing, expands the boundaries, includes historic structures, and adds more information on the importance of the property. Settled in 1797 by the Hoggatt family, new documentation in the nomination details the agricultural importance of the farm and the significant role of enslaved African Americans. One of the larger farms in the area, changing farming methods and crops are represented by the landscape and outbuildings on the property. Two of the only surviving former slave cabins in Davidson County are located on the property. Recent fieldwork documented the historic archaeological value of the farm. This fieldwork adds information not found in the written record and presents a more complete picture of what life was like at Clover Bottom when it was a working farm. The state of Tennessee bought the farm in 1949 and used it as an institutional farm and for housing. Unused since 1980, in 1994 the mansion became the offices of the Tennessee Historical Commission staff.

Tennessee Military Institute Residential Historic District (Sweetwater – Monroe County)

The Tennessee Military Institute Residential Historic District is comprised of 3 houses located adjacent to and historically associated with the military school. From 1905 when the first house was built until 1970 when the enrollment of the school declined, the residences housed leaders and teachers at the school. The school began in 1873 as the Sweetwater Military College, changed its name in 1902 and moved to the High Street campus in 1909. President of the school Colonel Otey Hulvey was instrumental in expanding the school and lived at 1313 Peachtree in the district. Promotional literature for the school showed the President’s Residence and adjacent Quartermaster’s Residence. The military institute closed in 1975 and the school campus has been vacant since 2007. The 3 residences are no longer associated with the former school.

Barretville Bank and Trust Company Building (Barretville– Shelby County)

Located near Millington, the unincorporated community of Barretville is well-known due to the commercial importance of the Barretville Bank and Trust Company. Although the company was founded in 1920, the current bank building was not constructed until 1932. Renovated circa 1958, the new, modern style of the building reflected the bank’s modern banking practices. Around 1956, the bank was notable as the 8th largest bank in West Tennessee based on capitalization and when deposits were considered, the bank was the 4th largest bank in West Tennessee. By 1970, the company had operated 11 bank branches in 7 communities in West Tennessee. The building in Barretville was the headquarters for all of the branches and banking services. Today the building is used as office space.

U.S. Marine Hospital (Memphis – Shelby County)

Three buildings and 1 structure associated with the former U.S. Marine Hospital are representative of important trends in architecture and health and medicine in Memphis in the late 19th to mid-20th century. The US Marine Hospital Building was built in 1934 and 1937. The 3-story plus raised basement Colonial Revival hospital is the principal building in the complex. Designed in a broad y-shape, the brick building is embellished with limestone detailing. Built in 1884 and listed in the National Register in 1980, the 2-story plus raised basement nurses’ quarters/laundry and kitchen building reflects the Italianate style. It was moved to its current location circa 1936 when newer buildings in the complex were constructed. Also included in the nomination are a support building, the 1939 steam laundry building and the 1930s ornamental metal fence that delineates much of the property. Plans are to adaptively reuse the building taking advantage of the federal preservation tax incentives.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee.

For more information, visit http://tnhistoricalcommission.org.

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, June 3, 2019:

Most Tennessee Promise Saturday events are on June 22

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks are offering volunteer events at 54 of the 56 state parks for Tennessee Promise scholars to fulfill their community service hours. Most of the events are on Saturday, June 22.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Tennessee Promise students to meet their requirements and be a part of the outdoors at the same time,” said Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “Tennessee Promise is giving students a great chance to further their education, and we’re glad Tennessee State Parks can be a part of that.”

Tennessee Promise Saturday includes a variety of work projects at the parks, including landscaping, invasive plant removal, litter pickup, trail maintenance, and more. Participants should wear appropriate clothing for the work and bring items such as water, snacks and sunscreen. Students should check with each individual park on the activities planned and details on what they will need to do and bring.

Students are encouraged to find details about service hours at state parks by visiting https://tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/tn-promise-saturday.

Tennessee Promise provides students the chance to attend tuition-free any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology or other eligible institutions offering an associate degree program. One of the requirements to maintain eligibility is to complete eight hours of community service. For the class of 2019, the deadline to complete the community service is July 1. The parks also accept help on Tennessee Promise Saturday from any volunteers who wish to participate.

The two parks not part of Tennessee Promise Saturday are Big Cypress Tree State Park and Dunbar Cave State Park, but students near Dunbar Cave can go to nearby Port Royal State Park for its event.

Press Release from the State of Tennessee May 24, 2019:

The Asian longhorned tick (shown left) and the Lone Star tick (shown right). Photo by G. Hickling, courtesy UTIA.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Tennessee Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) today announced the detection of the invasive Asian longhorned tick in Tennessee.

The Asian longhorned tick has now spread to 11 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans or animals in the U.S.

Two Asian longhorned ticks were recently found on a dog in Union County, and five were found on a cow in Roane County. In the U.S., the tick has been reported on 17 different mammal species.

“Tennessee has a relatively large amount and variety of ticks,” Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. “It is important to be diligent and keep an eye out for all ticks because many varieties can transmit pathogens or cause painful bites.”

Tips to prevent tick bites in animals and livestock include:

  • Coordinate with your veterinarian to determine appropriate pest prevention for pets and livestock.
  • Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.
  • Remove any ticks by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers.
  • Monitor your pets and livestock for any changes in health.
  • If your animals are bitten by a tick, Dr. Trout Fryxell suggests putting the tick in a ziplock bag, writing down the date and where the tick was most likely encountered, and storing it in a freezer.
  • If any symptoms of a tick-borne disease begin to develop, you should bring the tick to your veterinarian.

For additional information about the longhorned tick in the United States, click here. To find more information on tick-borne diseases, click here.

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, May 14, 2019:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks will celebrate National Trails Day with free guided hikes at all 56 state parks on Saturday, June 1.

This will be the third of the state parks’ signature hikes this year, following First Day Hikes in January and Spring Hikes in March. Thus far, 4,787 park visitors have participated in the hikes.

“This is an opportunity for people to feel connected to nature and to learn about a Tennessee State Park at the same time with the guidance of a park ranger,” said Anne Marshall, acting deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “Whether you’re interested in a park’s history, seeing incredible views or taking a challenging trek, our parks give everyone that feeling that you can’t get anywhere else.”

The American Hiking Society designates the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day as a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service. Last year, 108,947 people participated in 1,203 events across 50 states.

Tennessee State Parks are offering a variety of ranger led hikes, night hikes, history hikes, nature hikes or trail clean-up hikes. With more than 1,000 miles of trails, ranging from easy paved trails to rugged backcountry trails to scenic waterways, the state parks have something for everyone.

For more information about the hikes visit: https://tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/national-trails-day-hikes/.

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, May 13, 2019:

Link: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/news/2019/5/13/tdci-commissioner-mcpeak-announces-departure-for-private-sector.html

TDCI Commissioner McPeak Announces Departure for Private Sector; Governor Bill Lee Names Deputy Commissioner Carter Lawrence as Interim Commissioner

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak announces today she is leaving Tennessee state government in order to pursue career opportunities in the private sector. Her last day as commissioner will be June 14, 2019. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has named TDCI Deputy Commissioner Carter Lawrence to serve as the Department’s Interim Commissioner until a permanent commissioner is selected.

“We thank Julie Mix McPeak for her over eight years of service and her tireless commitment to her Department and to Tennessee. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “Carter Lawrence has ably served as Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Commerce and Insurance, and I look forward to serving alongside him as he steps into the role of Interim Commissioner.”

McPeak, who was first appointed commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in 2011, is the immediate past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance, McPeak is the first woman to serve as chief insurance regulator in more than one state.

“Tennessee is a special place, and it has been a distinct privilege and honor to have served the Volunteer State,” McPeak said. “It’s been an amazing journey. At the end of the day, I’m enormously proud of our accomplishments on behalf of Tennesseans. I believe the Department has helped play a role in transforming Tennessee into a national and international destination for families and businesses. I am excited about the next chapter of my life and my career in Nashville – and I’m equally excited about what’s in store for Tennessee.”

Under McPeak’s leadership, the Department’s multiple divisions undertook numerous initiatives and programs that have improved Tennessee, including:

  • Accreditation of the Department by the NAIC. As part of the NAIC’s accreditation program, state insurance departments must undergo comprehensive, independent review every five years to ensure they meet financial solvency oversight standards. States that maintain their accredited status demonstrate that the current means of regulatory monitoring is intact and continues to work effectively.
  • Creating and implementing the “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” free smoke alarm program. Since its inception in 2012, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office and its Tennessee fire service partners have distributed over 198,000 smoke alarms statewide. Smoke alarms installed through the program are credited with saving 265 Tennesseans from fire danger, so far.
  • Modernizing Tennessee’s captive insurance laws, resulting in Tennessee domestic captive insurance companies exceeding $1 billion in written premiums in 2017 for the first time. Its efforts resulted in Tennessee being named Domicile of The Year (Less Than 200 Captives) at the 2018 U.S. Captive Review Awards for its achievements.
  • Streamlining the process of issuing professional licenses, enabling Tennessee professionals to obtain their license in a more timely and efficient manner.

A full bio and photo of McPeak can be found here.

Lawrence previously served as TDCI’s Deputy Commissioner overseeing the Department’s administration as well as the Division of Regulatory Boards. While managing the Division of Regulatory Boards, he oversaw nearly 40 fee reductions across the division’s 27 program areas, benefitting many of the more than 250,000 licensees across the Volunteer State.

A native of Williamson County, Lawrence is an attorney and studied law at the University of Tennessee, where he also obtained a Master of Business Administration. For undergraduate studies, Carter obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill). He and his wife, Amy, are the proud parents of two boys and are members of Church of the Redeemer, where he serves as a vestryman.

Said Lawrence: “Commissioner McPeak leaves a legacy of sound management practices and continually challenging the Department’s executive staff and our team members to strive for their best as they serve the public. Following her example, I will champion Governor Lee’s vision for Tennessee during my service as Interim Commissioner. I thank Governor Lee for the opportunity to serve Tennessee in this role.”

Press Release from the Office of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Justin P. Wilson, May 13, 2019:

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, has resulted in the federal indictment of Patrick Martin, the former executive director of the Community Prevention Coalition of Jackson County.

The coalition was a 501(c)3 not-for-profit with a stated mission to reduce underage drinking and tobacco use and increase the capacity for prevention in Jackson County. Its primary funding came from grants from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Investigators determined that Martin stole at least $46,335 from the coalition between January 2014 and December 2015.

Martin’s schemes included:

  • Using coalition funds to reimburse himself for personal purchases such as hunting supplies, a crossbow, and payment of his personal electric bill.
  • Using coalition funds to reimburse himself for coalition expenses that had already been paid with coalition checks. For example, Martin paid a coalition electric bill totaling $1,607.28 with a coalition check on April 24, 2014; however, he had already written himself a check for that exact same amount three weeks earlier with the memo “electric.”
  • Martin used $4,000 of coalition money to purchase a 1987 Ford Mustang that he gave to friend.
  • Martin wrote several coalition checks to himself indicating they were for repayment of coalition loans; however, the proceeds were used for Martin’s own benefit. In one instance, a $7,500 coalition check was used for a $6,400 payment on his personal mortgage. The remaining $1,100 was deposited into his personal bank account.
  • Martin issued himself 10 extra paychecks.

Approximately seven days after the Comptroller’s investigation began, certain invoices and other financial records were apparently destroyed in a fire while in Martin’s custody. Because these records were unavailable for examination, there is an extraordinarily high risk that additional coalition funds were misappropriated or misused by Martin.

The board of directors of the Community Prevention Coalition of Jackson County elected to cease operations in July 2017 following this investigation.

Subsequent to this investigation, Comptroller investigators joined with federal investigators and expanded the scope of the inquiry. In May 2019, Patrick Martin was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, on a 48-count indictment, including two counts of theft, 30 counts of wire fraud, and one count of destruction of records.

“Theft is difficult to detect when one person prepares all of the checks and board members do not take time to review bank statements or other financial information,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “This organization had a number of inadequate financial practices that provided an opportunity for fraud.”

To view the investigation, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

Press Release from the Office of Republican Tennessee Congressman John Rose, May 10, 2019:

Rose Fights for Small Businesses in Rural Communities

Link: https://johnrose.house.gov/media/press-releases/rose-fights-small-businesses-rural-communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wednesday, marking the midpoint of National Small Business Week, Congressman John Rose (TN-6) advocated for the proud small business owners in rural communities of Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District at the House Financial Services Committee meeting. He strongly encouraged his fellow committee members to support his proposed legislation that would allow entrepreneurs in rural communities to receive the capital formation technical assistance available to many other small businesses across the state and nation.

“Small businesses are truly the engine of growth in rural communities,” said Rose. “The vast majority of the 19 counties in Tennessee’s Sixth District are rural, and the workforces in these communities depend on job opportunities provided by entrepreneurs who build their businesses from the ground up. The men and women who operate and work for these enterprises are some of the hardest working people I have met. Startups, family businesses, and local companies in rural communities are often overlooked. Yet, their challenges deserve the same attention other innovators and job creators would receive. This is commonsense reform and a great step toward empowering entrepreneurs by leveling the playing field for small businesses in all types of communities across the United States.”

The legislation, H.R.2409, adds rural small businesses to the mission of the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation and will require the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to consider any adverse effects of regulations on rural small businesses. It was introduced on April 30, 2019 and reported favorably out of the House Financial Services Committee on May 8, 2019. Congressman Rose introduced the legislation with Reps. Cynthia Axne (IA-3), Alex Mooney (WV-2), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Chris Pappas (NH-1), and Denver Riggleman (VA-5). The Senate companion bill was introduced by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Doug Jones (D-AL).

Congressman John Rose represents Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District and resides in Cookeville with his wife, Chelsea, and their son, Guy. The Sixth District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties as well as portions of Cheatham and Van Buren counties.