ETSU alerts DA about Zaatini investigation, Audit Committee meets

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University officials have discussed the university’s ongoing investigation into former tennis coach Yaser Zaatini with the district attorney, according to First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark.

Clark said he talked with representatives of the university a few weeks ago, but has not requested a criminal investigation.

Zaatini resigned abruptly in March with no explanation, but public records revealed he agreed to pay ETSU $31,000 over three years. Zaatini said his resignation was “no admission of malfeasance.”

ETSU previously confirmed Zaatini is the subject of an ongoing internal investigation.

The ETSU Board of Trustee’s Audit Committee met Monday for the first time since its creation and held an executive session behind closed doors to discuss “incomplete investigations.”

Committee Chairman David Golden said he couldn’t reveal if the group discussed the Zaatini investigation, but said all details will eventually come out.

“Just as a general proposition, there has to be time allowed to get that investigation proper, so when it is finished, it’s finished and the questions can be answered,” Golden said following Monday’s meeting.

Zaatini’s attorney previously said any “contractual disagreement” with the university has been resolved.

Among other things, ETSU’s auditor investigates allegations of fraud, waste and abuse. The Audit Committee is in charge of oversight, making sure all university audits are independent and objective.

“We want to make sure that there’s integrity that when money goes to a certain end that it gets used for the certain end; that it gets used and gets used in the right way,” Golden said. “We’re kind of the representative of that collective expectation that it be done correctly.”

Tennessee’s fraud, waste and abuse hotline is (800) 232-5454.

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