Former ECD Commissioner Testifies About State Contracts - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Friends in High Places

Former ECD Commissioner Testifies About State Contracts

(Story created: 9/2/04)

A federal grand jury continued to demand answers from people with ties to former Gov. Don Sundquist. Among them: another former member of Sundquist's cabinet and a son of a close Sundquist friend.

It stems from our Friends in High Places investigation of state contracts and questions about how the former governor spent your money.

Among those testifying was Sundquist's last commissioner of economic and community development, Tony Grande.

It marked at least the sixth time that a member of Sundquist's cabinet has testified before this grand jury.

Also appearing were former deputy education commissioner Jeff Roberts and education department employee Lisa Cothron.

All three played roles in the millions of dollars that went to Education Networks of America.

ENA landed state contracts to provide Internet connections to Tennessee schools.

But Grande had little to say about his appearance.

"I can't comment on it, but [I've] done my duty," Grande told NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter, Phil Williams.

"Are you a target of the investigation?" Williams asked.

"I am not. I am a witness."

"Do you have immunity?"

"I'm not at liberty to talk about it."

ENA was started by longtime Sundquist friends John Stamps and Al Ganier.

Also appearing was Stamps' youngest son, Hunter Stamps. The younger Stamps declined to discuss his testimony.

In addition, the grand jury heard from Stamps' business partner in an insurance company and a handyman.

Witnesses say investigators appear to be tracing the flow of money through accounts set up by the friend of the governor.

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