Lawmakers Set Deadline for TNInvestco Changes

Lawmakers have set a deadline for fixing a taxpayer-funded venture capital program. Auditors found numerous problems with TNInvestco, which gives state money to small businesses, in hopes they’ll become job-creating powerhouses.

The issues go back to TNInvestco’s founding three years ago, during former governor Phil Bredesen’s administration. They include a lack of annual reports to lawmakers, and incomplete financial statements from the firms receiving TNInvestco funds.

Speaking to a legislative committee, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said he asked for the audit and he’s already making changes, like appointing a full-time director.

“There was about half a person, half an executive assistant assigned to this program in the department. So, we have begun to put a management structure in place to make sure it’s managed, though it wasn’t properly resourced from the beginning.”

Lawmakers had concerns of their own, such as a lack of minority-owned companies taking part. ECD officials didn’t have current figures on the number of minority firms.

The committee gave ECD until November 2013 to fix TNInvestco’s problems.

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