Author

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. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.

(Photo: Laura Olivas/Getty Images)

Tennessee audit finds millions of dollars misappropriated for childrens’ meal programs

By: - April 15, 2022

In the summer of 2020, with pandemic-driven unemployment surging across Tennessee, the state contracted with two Shelby County community groups to provide meals to children at risk for hunger in locations scattered throughout the county. But when auditors with the Tennessee Comptroller’s office made surprise visits to check on the programs, they found no children […]

Judge denies Mason’s request for temporary injunction against Tennessee Comptroller

By: - April 14, 2022

A Nashville judge has denied a request by elected leaders of the Town of Mason to temporarily halt a financial takeover by Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower, noting his office has “broad authority” over local government operations. The Comptroller formally took control of Mason’s finances on April 4, citing a long history of financial mismanagement, and […]

Mason Vice Mayor Virginia Rivers, left, poses with Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower and Mason Mayor Emmit Gooden during a recent meeting. (Photo courtesy: Tennessee Comptroller)

Tennessee lawyers argue charges of racism are “unfortunate distraction” in Mason case

By: - April 13, 2022

Key to allegations that Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower acted with racial discrimination in his efforts to take control of the majority Black, west Tennessee Town of Mason was his unusual suggestion that Mason give up its charter, dissolving the town entirely. Mumpower’s ask — which first came in February when he made an appearance during […]

Tennessee Comptroller lays out case in court for Mason takeover

By: - April 6, 2022

Attorneys for the Town of Mason argued Wednesday that an effort by the Tennessee Comptroller to assert day-to-day financial control over the majority black community represents an “overreach,” marked by irregularities and punitive rules. “This administration is just asking to be treated fair,” said Terry Clayton, an attorney representing the town, which filed suit on […]

Calvin Blades, 75, with glasses, listens during a recent community meeting. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Dispute over Town of Mason, Tenn. heads to court Wednesday

By: - April 6, 2022

Attorneys for the Town of Mason and the Tennessee Comptroller are expected to appear in a Nashville courtroom Wednesday morning on an emergency request to prevent the Comptroller from taking control of the town’s finances. Mason officials, represented by attorneys with the NAACP, filed suit on Friday, claiming the Comptroller’s office lacks the authority to […]

Mason, Tenn. City Hall. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Town of Mason files suit against Tennessee Comptroller

By: - April 3, 2022

The Town of Mason’s elected leaders have filed a lawsuit against Comptroller Jason Mumpower, seeking an immediate halt to a financial takeover of the small, majority Black community in rural west Tennessee, located just miles from a new electric car plant expected to economically rejuvenate the region. In a petition filed Friday afternoon, Mason’s Mayor […]

Judges strike down Tennessee law allowing warrantless searches by state wildlife officials

By: - March 23, 2022

The longstanding practice of conducting warrantless searches on private property by officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is unconstitutional, a three judge panel hearing a case in Benton County Circuit Court ruled Tuesday. The ruling invalidates Tennessee law that TWRA has relied on to conduct warrantless searches and surveillance on private land in order […]

Mason, Tenn. City Hall. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee Comptroller scales back financial oversight plans for Town of Mason

By: - March 23, 2022

The town of Mason could be free from state financial oversight as soon as July or August after a “very positive meeting” between state and local officials, Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower said Tuesday. “We were able to put together a positive plan moving forward,” Mumpower said shortly after a 70-minute meeting with Mason’s Mayor, Vice […]

Residents of Mason, Tenn. pray at a community meeting March 10. (Photo: John Partiilo)

Ford Motor expresses concern about Mason

By: - March 18, 2022

Ford Motor Company officials are in communication with the Tennessee Comptroller about its financial takeover plans for Mason, Tenn., a small majority Black town located less than five miles from the automaker’s new electric vehicle plant, a company spokesman said Friday. However, Virginia Rivers — Mason’s Vice Mayor — said no one with Ford has […]

Mason, Tenn. City Hall. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Town of Mason officials, Tennessee Comptroller to meet over its future

By: - March 18, 2022

Elected leaders from Mason, Tenn. will meet with Comptroller Jason Mumpower next Tuesday to discuss the town’s financial future — a meeting made at the request of town officials, who still hope to stave off a financial takeover by the state. But Mumpower made clear Thursday he will be moving forward to take control of […]

er of Mason is part of a pattern of discrimination against Black leaders. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Comptroller to take over majority-Black town of Mason, ahead of Ford investment in west Tennessee

By: - March 15, 2022

Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower said Tuesday that he will be taking control of the finances of Mason, Tenn. a majority Black town of about 1,500 people located within five miles of the future site Blue Oval City, the Ford electric truck and battery plant that represents one of the largest manufacturing investments in the state’s […]

Virginia Rivers, vice-mayor of Mason, Tenn: "This is akin to a hostile takeover."(Photo: John Partipilo)

‘This is akin to a hostile takeover’

By: - March 14, 2022

MASON, Tenn. – The Tennessee Comptroller issued an unusual appeal last week to residents of this small, majority Black town, which occupies fewer than two square miles in rural west Tennessee.  “In my opinion, it’s time for Mason to relinquish its charter,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower wrote in a letter mailed to each one of Mason’s […]