Comtproller Audit Finds Issues with Rockwood Economic Development Organization

Press release from the office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; January  29, 2015:

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has uncovered several issues related to Rockwood Revitalization, Inc., in Roane County, Tennessee.

Rockwood Revitalization was organized to stimulate downtown economic development for the City of Rockwood. The organization is primarily funded from grants and donations.

The investigation centered around a 2012 State of Tennessee, Department of Economic and Community Development, revitalization grant. The $15,000 grant was intended to help develop a new visitors’ center by including a public restroom.

Investigators found that Rockwood Revitalization did not comply with the grant contract. Although building materials were purchased, no work ever began on the visitors’ center during the grant period. Furthermore, in February 2014 Rockwood Revitalization submitted false information to TNECD by indicating the visitor center and restroom facilities were completed on the grant close-out report.

Rockwood Revitalization eventually used the purchased materials to develop and open a welcome center in October 2014.

Comptroller investigators also noted questionable business practices within Rockwood Revitalization, and found the organization did not follow its bylaws. All of the findings and recommendations have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the 9th Judicial District.

“Grant money can play an important role in spurring economic development throughout the state,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Taxpayers deserve to know their money is being used appropriately and all the rules are being followed.”

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/