A report by the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Office of the Inspector General has cleared TVA Board Chairman William Sansom of several allegations that his financial interests violate conflict-of-interest laws and policies. The report also found a nepotism charge levied against Sansom was simply a case of mistaken identity.
The charges were made during the public comment period at the TVA’s April 18, 2013 meeting in Columbia, Tennessee. At that meeting, Garry Morgan of Hollywood, Alabama suggested Sansom had personal financial interests in companies that do, or have done business with the TVA. Morgan charged some of Sansom’s holdings in those companies exceeded the amounts allowed by the TVA’s Conflict of Interest Policy. In addition, Morgan claimed Sansom’s son-in-law was employed by the utility, which would be a violation of TVA’s policy on nepotism.
The Inspector General’s report claims Sansom’s financial holdings don’t represent a conflict of interest, nor do they represent the appearance of a conflict. The report states, “there is no evidence (Sansom) has voted or taken any action as a Board member regarding a particular matter in which he held a personal financial interest.”
As for the nepotism allegation, the employee in question simply has the same last name as Sansom’s son-in-law. The report goes on to point out that Sansom’s son-in-law is actually employed by a local school district.
Among its responsibilities, the TVA’s Office of Inspector General is charged with conducting and supervising audits, inspections and investigations that involve allegations and instances of fraud, waste and abuse.