Documents obtained by The Daily Times in a public records request this week reveal the person who embezzled over $186,000 from Blount Memorial Hospital’s nonprofit organization was in fact the organization’s own director.
Jane Gilbert Andrews, who served as executive director for the Blount Memorial Foundation between 2001 and 2016, embezzled $186,655.57 over a nearly nine-year period, starting in October 2007 and ending in April 2016.
The Daily Times learned of the theft in an Oct. 3 news release and report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury detailing misused public money.
The embezzlement went unnoticed at the hospital until an audit was performed for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the report said.
While the hospital declined to identify the employee responsible, hospital records show Andrews was responsible for the theft.
A letter from BMH CEO Don Heinemann to Andrews dated Sept. 15, 2016, states Andrews disclosed the theft to the hospital on Aug. 30, 2016. That’s the same day she emailed her resignation, the letter states.
The letter also states an internal investigation to confirm the amount of stolen money was initiated, and revealed $186,655.57 was misappropriated over a nine-year period.
“Be further advised that your misappropriation of funds, including the nature, amount, sources, and timing of those misappropriations may trigger certain legal and/or regulatory reporting obligations by Blount Memorial Foundation and/or Blount Memorial Hospital Inc.” Heinemann states in the letter. “We intend to fully honor whatever reporting obligations we may have and we can offer no assurances as to what the result or effect of those reports might be for you personally.”
Charges not pursued
The hospital chose not to notify police, but were required by the state Comptroller’s Office to contact Blount County District Attorney General Mike Flynn. Flynn told The Daily Times he was made aware of the theft, but did not file charges because it was against hospital officials’ wishes.
The state Comptroller’s Office told The Daily Times the decision on whether to file charges rests with the district attorney general.
In a Nov. 7 letter to The Daily Times, Heinemann said recovering the money was most important to the hospital, not criminal charges.
“Our primary interest was to recover the funds so that they could be used for the benefit of our community, as they were intended,” Heinemann wrote. “We pursued the reimbursement of the funds with interest, which we felt was most important for us and for the community.”
Records show the hospital was fully repaid the money, along with about 11.5 percent interest, by Sept. 30, 2016. Hospital records show Andrews wrote a check for $208,418.36 to the Blount Memorial Foundation on Sept. 26, 2016.
While the hospital provided a year-by-year summary of the stolen funds, it has yet to provide records indicating exactly what the money was supposed to be used for, how Andrews disbursed the money to herself and what she did with the money.
According to her personnel file, Andrews was making $45.84 per hour at the time of her resignation. She was hired as Blount Memorial Foundation director on March 22, 2001, with a starting salary of $65,000. A little over three months later, she received a nearly 3 percent raise, bumping her to $67,000 a year.
Before being hired at BMH, Andrews worked at Pellissippi State Technical Community College as its foundation and alumni affairs director. Her job duties, which began in January 1995, included fundraising on behalf of the college and working with the foundation board. Her ending salary was $44,000 a year.
Before that, she worked as director of Maryville College’s Alumni and Parents Program. She held that position from September 1991 to December 1994.
According to her resume, Andrews holds a Master of Education from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Science from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Music from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.