TBI leader under investigation for misuse of state funds retires


Courtesy of the TBI via The Tennessean

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s interim leader said Thursday that he will retire amid an investigation into allegations that he misused state funds.

In a news release, Acting Director Jason Locke said that by stepping down, he’s acting out of respect for the integrity of the bureau and its agents.

Locke said his last day will be Monday, when Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch will be sworn in as the new director. Gov. Bill Haslam picked Rausch over Locke and one other finalist to fill the job permanently.

Locke said he will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities through the conclusion of the investigation.

The governor’s office produced emails that Haslam received last week from Locke’s wife, Kim Locke, about her husband, alleging he used taxpayer money to carry on an affair with another state official, Sejal West of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, from November 2016 through July 2017.

Locke and West have been placed on administrative leave. A message left for West at a number listing her name wasn’t immediately returned Thursday.

“I have been blessed to have enjoyed a full career in serving the citizens of Tennessee as a law enforcement officer,” Locke, a 21-year-veteran of the bureau, said in the statement released by his lawyer, Jeff Cherry. “I am thankful for the relationships that were forged over those many years. I am also thankful for the opportunity to have been impacted so greatly by all those that I came in contact with along the way.”

State authorities and the Nashville district attorney general’s office have confirmed that they are investigating the allegations against Locke.

Former bureau director Mark Gwyn retired last month after three decades with the agency.

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