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10Investigates: East TN eye bank chief's compensation raises questions about what pay is proper

We reviewed decades of documents from the Internal Revenue Service. As the East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank grew, so did the executive compensation.

Grace King

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Published: 1:21 PM EDT July 19, 2022
Updated: 6:30 PM EDT August 19, 2022

Editor's Note: On July 28, Executive Director Valerie Stewart provided an email from the non-profit's certified public account, showing Laura Gilleran's hours were incorrectly reported as part-time to the IRS. The CPA said "the cost of filing an amended Form 990 for this one small change was determined to be unnecessary." 

The East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank has helped restore sight for thousands of people in recent years.

The nonprofit also paid its executive director roughly $445,000 in total compensation in the 2019 fiscal year, according to documents provided by the Internal Revenue Service.

That's about $1 for every $5 in the ETLEB's total revenue reported that year.

"The more I looked at it, the more it just galled me," LaFollette Lions Club member Patrick Pebley said. "This is not just people donating money. This is people donating their loved ones' eyes."

10News spent weeks reviewing internal emails, meeting minutes, recordings and IRS documents to understand how the organization operates.

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