Former Legislator’s Lodge Lacks Some Formal Records

An East Tennessee foundation that gets the bulk of its revenue from sales of a specialty license plate has not kept formal records about the use of a lodge that was built using money from the plates, reports the News Sentinel.
The Sportsmen’s Wildlife Foundation is led by H.E. Bittle, a former state representative from Knox County who in 1999 was the prime sponsor of legislation creating the “Sportsman” license plate, which features an image of a deer. In 2007, the News Sentinel reported that a portion of the revenue generated by the plates was directed to Bittle’s foundation, and that he used money from the plate to pay for 329 acres in Cumberland County and build a two-story hunting lodge with a basement on the property.
According to records filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the lodge was used by 11 groups with approximately 181 participants in 2010 and 13 groups with approximately 137 participants in 2009. In response to questions from the News Sentinel, a lawyer for the foundation said in a statement that the length of time each youth group spends at the lodge has varied, but that the average length of stay is usually two to three days. The lawyer said most of those groups have made repeat visits to the lodge over the past couple of years.
But when asked for an accounting of what groups used the lodge on which dates during the last two years, attorney Matthew Brotherton said in an email that “the foundation has not kept any formal records indicating the exact number of days each group has spent at the lodge over the past couple of years.”

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