NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A longtime and high-ranking Metro Schools administrator who was the focus of a NewsChannel 5 investigation has taken an unexpected early retirement.
Dr. Tony Majors' sudden departure came just as Metro auditors wrapped up their own investigation into Majors' possible conflict of interest.
Majors worked for Metro Schools for 27 years. He started as a teacher and worked his way up to one of top jobs on Bransford Avenue. But the 11 page report by Metro auditors appears to have ended that all.
"I've helped to grow a program that's giving kids an opportunity to play baseball and softball," Majors told NewsChannel 5 Investigates when we began our reporting.
Majors said he didn't see anything wrong with directing money to an outside youth sports program he ran called RBI at the same time he was a high level administrator for Metro Schools.
"If you consider that there's a conflict of interest there, that's your opinion. I don't feel that there is one," Majors said at the time.
But Metro city auditors found Majors did in fact have a conflict of interest and that he used his influence in his role with MNPS to help RBI.
Metro Schools' Director Adrienne Battle requested the audit after seeing our months-long investigation which found Majors helped RBI get a total of $30,000 from MNPS.
"Metro has not contributed money to RBI," Majors insisted when we'd asked him about it.
But records showed Metro Schools gave RBI two separate grants to help run a summer camp. But, as we first reported, there were no such camps.
We also exposed how Majors helped broker a deal with Belmont University that would have allowed Belmont to build an athletic facility on Metro Schools' property. As part of the agreement, RBI was to have received $20,000 a year.
The auditors said their investigation confirmed what we'd uncovered about both the non-existent summer camps and the Belmont deal, writing that "Majors used his influence to attempt to direct public resources to Nashville RBI" and as a result, "RBI received unfair and inappropriate benefits."
"You didn't get a salary?" we'd asked Majors.
"No, no," he replied.
And while Majors insisted he did not benefit in any way from RBI, emails we recently discovered show last summer he asked the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee which oversaw RBI that he be paid $8,000. Majors wrote he needed to be paid for his services because he was spending a great deal of time running the baseball program.
Majors told auditors he'd only received $5,000 and that he'd returned the money in late January, one day after Dr. Battle told us she'd suspended and demoted him.
Now, in a statement, Dr. Battle told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, she is "very disappointed"...the "charges were substantiated," adding that "Dr. Majors has had a positive impact on the lives of many students, but his actions represent a conflict of interest and caused damage to the reputation of MNPS."
Majors' last day with Metro Schools was last Tuesday, the same day auditors sent their report to MNPS. Dr. Battle meanwhile said MNPS will now ask the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee to give back the $30,000 that was supposed to be, but was never used for those summer camps.
Metro auditors included a list of MNPS policies that Majors appeared to have violated and recommended that Metro Schools make sure its administrators and staff are aware of these policies so that future conflicts of interest may be avoided.