FBI agents carried out search warrants Friday at a for-profit nursing school that State Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis founded, according to various media reports.
The Healthcare Institute, based in Memphis, is the name of the nursing school.
These FBI agents also executed search warrants at Robinson’s home, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Members of the FBI reportedly did not comment to the media.
The Commercial Appeal, though, quoted witnesses who said they saw agents move filing cabinets out of the school building and into white vans.
Staff at Robinson’s legislative office in Nashville declined to talk to The Tennessee Star Friday. Instead, they referred all questions to Democratic Caucus spokesman Brandon Puttbrese.
Puttbrese said the following in an emailed statement to The Star:
“We’ve been made aware of the investigation and have received no indication that it relates to the legislature or her legislative service,” Puttbrese said.
“Because the investigation is ongoing, we will not be making additional statements and will defer any further questions to Sen. Robinson’s attorney.Our thoughts are with Sen. Robinson and her family.”
Siobhan Riley, reporter for the Memphis-based FOX 13, tweeted Friday that FBI agents seemed to have a specific focus.
“Nursing students told me they were questioned about whether or not they were receiving grants & how much $ they were spending for program.” Riley wrote.
The Healthcare Institute’s website provided more details about the school itself.
“In July 2015, THI launched its flagship vocational program for Certified Nursing Assistant,” the school’s website said.
“The program garnered the support of the US Department of Health and Human services, securing $1.6M for the funding of its Educate to Empower program – a dual focus program to educate more Certified Nursing Assistants for entry into the geriatric workforce and to provide community education to the geriatric population of Shelby County, TN.”
The website also said Robinson secured this federal grant “with no formal training or education in grant writing.”
This funding, the website went on to say, provides scholarships.
As reported last year, Robinson said she, as a Democrat has a responsibility to make Tennessee more politically progressive.
Vanderbilt’s official student newspaper, The Hustler, profiled Robinson in an article, presented in a question-and-answer format.
“Sometimes conservatives will not push legislation that affects the everyday, middle class, working family, single moms, recent college grads with student loan debt, you won’t see a lot of that from the conservative side, and so it is our issue and our position as Democratic senators to champion those issues,” Robinson reportedly told the paper.
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