Tennessee official accused of giving school lunch contracts to husband’s employer

Chris Butler
Posted: Aug 14, 2015 5:00 AM
Tennessee official accused of giving school lunch contracts to husband’s employer

A former child nutrition director for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System is accused of steering nearly $75,000 in food vending contracts to a business that employed her husband, according to an audit from Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson.

The nutrition director, Debbie Mobley, held the position since 1992 and retired last month, according to the audit, released Thursday.

Contact information for Mobley was unavailable Thursday.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Tennessee auditors say an employee with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System allegedly steered nearly $75,000 in contracts to her husband.

Mobley consistently hired her husband’s company between February 2011 and June 2012, the audit says.

“We noted no other purchases from this food service vendor before or after the husband’s employment as a sales representative,” according to the audit.

“The chief financial officer was not aware the child nutrition department director’s husband was the sales representative of a vendor employed by the school system.”

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Mobley’s husband left his employer to work for the school system in August 2012, the audit says.

School system spokeswoman Elise Shelton said Mobley’s husband took a job as a driver in the school’s maintenance department, which has no direct connection to his wife.

Shelton did not know the name of the vendor who employed Mobley’s husband, nor did she know the names of any of its competitors.

Shelton told Tennessee Watchdog on Thursday the school system used a competitive, low-bidding process to select vendors.

Shelton also said she wasn’t sure whether Mobley followed the rule each time she hired her husband’s business.

“When we were first alerted to the investigation we did what is typical protocol, which is to place her at an alternative work site in June of last year,” Shelton said.

“She was brought back in June of this year, but she took Family Medical Leave at that point and filed her retirement papers on July 1.”

Wilson’s office forwarded the Comptroller’s report to 19th Judicial District Attorney John W. Carney, according to a statement from Comptroller spokesman John Dunn.

Carney said he had no comment Thursday.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org 

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