Acting TBI director's alleged misuse of state funds under investigation

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Acting Director Jason Locke is under investigation by the state after serious...

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 11:53 AM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 11:53 AM

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Acting Director Jason Locke is under investigation by the state after serious misconduct allegations were brought to the governor by Locke's wife, Kim.

In a series of emails sent to Gov. Bill Haslam last week, Kim Locke accused her husband, one of three candidates in the running to be the next TBI director, of using state resources to engage in an extramarital affair with Sejal West, former deputy commissioner of the TN Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

"He admitted to me that he drove his state vehicle and she drove her state vehicle to stay at hotels overnight in Knoxville, Tenn. and in Jackson, Tenn., paid for by the State of Tennessee," Locke said in one email to Gov. Haslam, which were obtained by the News4 I-Team. "They each found a reason to be at those locations to continue their affair."

While Locke only confessed to those two trips, Kim believes he and West took many more.

"Sejal West's husband told me that there were numerous trips out of town on state time that they took together," she said. "Jason only admitted to two trips."

The affair allegedly took place between Nov. 2016 and Dec. 2017. It ended, she said, when West's husband, Ben, found out about the affair.

Misuse of state funds is only one of many serious allegations against Jason Locke and Sejal West mentioned in the emails.

"I'm very afraid that I'm in danger," Kim wrote in a follow-up email to Gov. Haslam. "[Jason] picked up a gun last night and held it in his hands the whole time we talked. I just need to know you're reading this and someone knows."

She also said Locke "has done away with" the state-issued phone he initially used to engage in the affair with West and "was issued a new state phone and began using WhatsApp to continue the affair because it is encrypted."

Kim also mentioned her husband's alleged drinking problem, saying Locke told her to lie if she was questioned about it during the background check process for the TBI directorship.

"He was also concerned that someone would ask me how much alcohol he consumes," she wrote. "He asked me to lie and say he only has 2-4 drinks a week. I can assure that is not the case. I am devastated and I'm very worried for my children."

Gov. Haslam turned over the allegations to the TN Dept. of Safety and Comptroller's Office so they could be investigated further.

A spokesperson from the TBI released a statement to News4 about the investigation into Jason Locke, saying:

"The TBI has been made aware of, and takes seriously, the accusations involving Acting Director Jason Locke," a spokesperson from the TBI told News4. "An immediate, outside review related to the accusation of misuse of state funds is underway, and we would defer further questions related to that aspect to the Governor's Office."

The Davidson County Attorney General's office also issued a statement about the investigation:

"We have been in communication with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security regarding the investigation of the Interim Director of the TBI, Jason Locke."

News4 has reached out to Locke's legal representation for comment but have not heard back.

Haslam appointed Knoxville Police Dept. Chief David Rausch as the new TBI director on Monday. Rausch will be sworn in on Monday, June 25.

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