“It’s sexist, it’s racist, it’s discriminatory” – Katrina Robinson
In 2015, Robinson founded The Healthcare Institute, which advertised itself as “Tennessee’s only Black-owned nursing college.” The tiny nursing school is located inside a Memphis strip mall. Between 2015 and 2019, she received $2.2 million in federal grants.
One year later, in 2016, she was already under investigation for misusing the money to buy luxury items for herself. Four years later, in 2020, the feds executed a search warrant on her nursing college. They charged her with 24 counts of embezzlement and 24 counts of wire fraud.
In total, federal prosecutors accused her of misusing $600k of the $2.2 million in grant money. They accused her of using the money for vacations, luxury items, and a retirement fund for herself.
The 48 charges were eventually reduced to 20. Then Judge Sheryl H. Lipman, a federal judge appointed by Obama, tossed fifteen charges. Of the five remaining charges, she was found guilty of four in September of 2021. Her sentencing was scheduled for January 2022. However, Judge Lipman tossed two of the convictions in January and postponed sentencing to March 3rd.
Meanwhile, Robinson was given pre-trial diversion in December of 2021 for even more new charges.
While all this was going on, she was elected as a Tennessee State Senator. In 2018, she defeated the incumbent Senator in a Democratic Party primary for State Senate District 33. Several leaders of the Democratic Party endorsed her. These endorsements heavily focused on the fact that she was Black and female. She ran unopposed. The district is heavily gerrymandering to be majority Black. She assumed office in January 2019.
Last week the Tennessee State Senate voted 27-5 to expel Katrina Robinson. The Senate has 27 Republicans and 6 Democrats, counting Robinson.