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Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Gray Sasser today called on state representative and state Senate candidate Dolores Gresham to return nearly $36,000 in state taxpayer-funded grants going to her and her husband James Gresham’s cattle farm in Fayette County.
Sasser said Gresham’s acceptance of the grants constitutes a serious conflict of interest given her role as a member of the House Agriculture Committee and now as a state senate candidate. According to a Friday report in the Commercial Appeal, in February 2007 Gresham spoke in favor of, and later voted for, grants in the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program but failed to note that her farm would benefit from them.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture confirmed to the newspaper that Gresham’s farm is the program’s top recipient in Fayette County. Six grants totaling $26,850 paid for a hay storage barn, commodity storage shed, and cattle squeeze chute and scale. Another $9,040 in funds have been approved but not yet been released to Gresham.
“Dolores Gresham’s taking nearly $36,000 in state taxpayer grants after promoting them in the House Agriculture Committee is a gross conflict of interest,” Sasser said. “We’re talking about a sitting legislator touting a grant program, voting for it, and then taking funds from it without ever making it known that she’s the biggest beneficiary in Fayette County.”
He added: “This is the kind of shady, unethical dealing that destroys confidence in our state government. Gresham ought to write a check back to the taxpayers immediately. And she ought to apologize for her breach of trust and conflict interest.”
“Dolores Gresham seems more committed to her own interest than looking out for Tennessee taxpayers,” Sasser concluded.
Tagged with: Dolores Gresham
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