Comptroller: Ex-director of publicly-funded Tennessee police chief group spent $60k on booze, meals

The report by the Tennessee Comptroller also found the former director was working as a lobbyist for another organization while on the job

By: - May 30, 2023 4:00 am
(Photo: Memphis Police Department Facebook page)

(Photo: Memphis Police Department Facebook page)

The former executive director of the publicly-funded Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police oversaw spending of more than $63,000 on food, alcohol, meals, gift cards and gas over a four-year period — credit card expenses questioned by the Tennessee Comptroller in a report that has been turned over to the Davidson County District Attorney’s office.

Maggi Duncan, the organization’s former leader, also worked as a registered lobbyist for a nonprofit organization during normal business hours that she was supposed to be at work representing the interests of Tennessee’s police chiefs. She used association computer equipment and its email account for outside lobbying work, the report said.

Duncan, who is referred to only by her position, not by name, in the Comptroller report released Friday, earned nearly $299,000 for her outside lobbying work for the unnamed nonprofit between 2017 and 2021, while continuing to collect her annual six-figure salary at the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. Her salary ranged from $115,000 in 2017 to $164,000 in 2021, not including hefty annual bonuses.

The Comptroller investigation noted she worked as an outside lobbyist for the nonprofit even after the board of directors in 2014 discovered she was working as a lobbyist for another organization and told her to stop.

Duncan was suspended from her job in March 2022; she resigned soon afterward. The report noted that Duncan was the account holder for all of the organization’s credit card accounts containing the questionable expenses. The cards were also issued to three employees and three members of the organization.

A spokesperson for the Davidson County District Attorney’s office on Friday said that, due to holiday weekend staffing, he was unable to provide information on whether the office plans to pursue prosecution.

The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Chiefs represents police chiefs across the state, lobbies at the state Capitol, provides law enforcement training and serves as the law enforcement agency credentialing body for the state of Tennessee. It is funded through a combination of federal and state grants, testing and accreditation fees and membership dues paid by local government. The Comptroller report estimated that more than half of its funding is derived directly from government sources.

The majority of the association’s board members are local police chiefs. The report singled out those board members as bearing responsibility for Duncan’s conduct.

The board’s lack of oversight extended to bonuses given to the executive director, which are not documented in any board meeting minutes or notes. The bonuses ranged from 20-25% of Duncan’s salary — between $14,000 and $24,350 annually.

“TACP’s Executive Board has a responsibility to provide adequate oversight of the organization and its staff,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said in a statement.

“The board should ensure the organization is following its policies concerning check signing and credit cards as well as revisit its official policy on the funding of hospitality suites.”

Contact information to reach Duncan for comment could not be immediately located on Friday.

Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Report by Anita Wadhwani on Scribd

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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee.