Audit: Tennis coach took $95,000 from taxpayers

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — A man who worked for Nashville’s Centennial Sportsplex Tennis Center and won a prestigious award this year from an international organization allegedly stole $95,310 from city taxpayers, according to a Comptroller’s audit released Tuesday.

A Davidson County grand jury indicted Blain Smith, the Sportsplex’s former special programs coordinator, this week on one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of official misconduct, according to a statement from Comptroller spokesman John Dunn.

OUCH: Nashville’s Centennial Sportsplex Tennis Center lost some cash after a coach is accused of stealing.

Smith, according to state Comptroller Justin Wilson’s audit, is accused of stealing at least 79 checks made payable to the Sportsplex and depositing them in his personal bank account.

Sportsplex spokeswoman Emily Lamb told Tennessee Watchdog on Tuesday that she had no comment on the matter because a criminal investigation is pending.

Officials with the South Carolina-based Professional Tennis Registry named Smith their Tennessee Member of the Year for 2014.

PTR spokesman Steve Keller had little to say on the matter Tuesday.

“Whenever someone does something that affects our code of ethics we certainly take a strong look at it,” Keller said.

“We just received this information today, so, obviously, this is something we are going to have to meet and discuss. This isn’t something we’re going to do anything about instantly. I have no comment,” Keller said of the tennis coach.

The PTR, according to its website, assists tennis teachers and coaches in 120 countries and has more than 14,000 members.

According to a PTR news release on his award in January, Smith was a 22-year employee of the Nashville Metro Board of Parks/Centennial Tennis Center.

Attempts to find contact information Tuesday for Smith were unsuccessful.

CHECKS AND BALANCES: One of the checks Blain Smith reportedly used on himself.

According to the audit, Smith said he spent some of the money he took and used it on Sportsplex operations, but he didn’t say how much.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

Follow Tennessee Watchdog and receive regular updates through Facebook and Twitter

Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Top