Case against former ETSU tennis coach Yaser Zaatini headed to grand jury, says DA

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A Washington County grand jury will determine whether criminal charges are warranted against former East Tennessee State University tennis coach Yaser Zaatini, according to First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark.

“I’ll be presenting that to our grand jury coming up in July,” Clark said. “I don’t want to comment on what type of criminal activity, if any, that there is. There was, in my opinion, some misappropriation of moneys.”

Clark says he read ETSU’s investigation findings related to Zaatini over the weekend and is still waiting to receive the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s separate investigative audit into the situation.

The university’s audit Friday concluded Zaatini falsified documents in order to take tens of thousands of dollars from ETSU. Auditors suggested the hall of famer may have violated four state laws in the process, including theft of property, forgery and official misconduct.

“I have been contacted by someone claiming to be his attorney that this was not as much a theft as misappropriating, putting money in different branches of the tennis team,” Clark said. “I’ve read the report, I’ve had some communication with ETSU and the Comptroller’s Office, the State of Tennessee. The next step is to determine if there is possible criminal activity. That will be determined by my grand jury.”

The next grand jury meets on July 12 and 13.

Zaatini previously promised to pay some of the money back to the university when he resigned in March, but said his resignation was no admission of malfeasance.

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