KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority’s use of a nearly $7 million executive helicopter was not always cost effective, and broke federal travel rules and its own policies, the organization’s inspector general said in a new report.

News outlets report that an internal audit of TVA helicopter use was released this week. It says many trips executives made on their helicopter were too short for such aircraft, like traveling between Knoxville and Chattanooga. Auditors determined that it cost around $1,100 to make the trips between the cities separated by roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers), and saved 15 to 24 minutes compared to driving.

The report says violations included flying without proper documentation and justification.

Assistant Inspector General David Wheeler says in the audit that the failures prevent TVA from ensuring travel costs are managed effectively and may cause reputational risks.

TVA bought a $6.95 million executive helicopter in 2016 equipped by Mercedes Benz to replace an aging aircraft. TVA President Bill Johnson said the new helicopter, previously used by Dallas…


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