Bloated Brochure Project at Tourist Development

Bredesen appointee Susan Whitaker is in the hot seat this week, as her Department of Tourist Development comes under criticism for a PR project whose costs grew to four times the original estimate. WSMV Channel 4 dug into invoices at the department and found a bloated project to create promotional brochures.

The ad agency White Thompson, which won the state bid for the brochures, indicated it would cost about $15,000 to develop six brochures, plus about $4,000 for the logo.

But when the I-Team began inspecting the invoices, it found that just a year later, the estimate to finish the brochures had doubled.

The estimate for the brochure a year later jumped to about $40,000 to finish the same brochure.

In the end, it cost $64,000. Add on the printing, and the final total was more than $100,000 in tax dollars to put the brochure in tourist destinations across the state.

We’re guessing the scathing news report was not quite the PR the department, a player in solar farms, had in mind. The TV station found that the department had spent $15,000 on videos praising Whitaker and former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Whitaker refused to answer questions on camera and “acted as though the I-Team wasn’t there when the I-Team showed up,” the television station reports. Guess this PR fiasco is something not even good bloodlines and working for Dolly herself prepared her for.