Member of Gov. Lee’s Faith-Based Board Has Received $4.7 Million In State Contracts Since 2019

Image Credit: The Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –

A member of Governor Bill Lee’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives board has secured millions of dollars in state contracts through a business formed only three days before the governor’s 2019 inauguration. 

Gov. Lee appointed Aubrey Elizabeth “Libby” Phillips to the board of directors for his newly established faith-based office board in 2020. 

This year, Tennessee’s state legislature approved a $1.2 million budget for Gov. Lee’s faith-based office. This is the first time taxpayer dollars have been directly allocated to the office since its creation. 

According to The Tennessean, the faith-based board is made up of Gov. Lee’s political allies and maintains final authority over how the state legislature approved budget is spent. 

In fact, all six members of the volunteer board of directors contributed to Gov. Lee’s 2018 campaign.

Phillips and her family contributed a total of $8,250 to Gov. Lee’s 2018 gubernatorial run. 

On January 16th, 2019, Phillips filed paperwork with Tennessee’s Secretary of State to form a new business. 

Gov. Lee was sworn into office on January 19th, 2019.

Just nine months later, Phillips’ business landed its first state contract. 

According to contract records, Phillips’ right-of-way mowing contractor business, Big Al Mowing, has won $4.7 million in state contracts with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) since 2019.

The company is described on Phillips’ LinkedIn profile as “a roadway and land maintenance and construction company with a focus on serving governmental customers.”

Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Furman University but had no previous experience in the mowing industry when she filed to create the business in question.

The governor’s office has previously stated that Gov. Lee was not involved in TDOT’s decision to contract with Phillips’ company.

“There are thousands of contracts across state government and each department manages their respective procurement process without the involvement of the Governor’s office,” stated Lee Administration Spokesperson Elizabeth Johnson. “The governor is not involved whatsoever with department procurement processes.”

In a 2020 TDOT contract, the state paid Big Al Mowing $230,982 for mowing 7 miles along Interstate 440 in Nashville. In 2021, the state paid Big Al Mowing $391,050 to do virtually the same thing.  

However, according to the governor’s office, TDOT terminated its contract with Big Al Mowing as of August 3rd, 2023, due to a “failure to meet performance standards.”

The company also secured a 24-month contract with the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) and Multimodal Infrastructure worth $5 million for monthly right-of-way litter collection.

Big Al Mowing was not the first choice for the contract as the company allegedly failed to provide resumes or a detailed plan for the work. However, contract negotiations for NDOT’s first choice fell through, and the city chose Phillips’ company.

The mowing company has also recently landed contracts under the direction of TDOT Deputy Governor and Commissioner Butch Eley, whose wife Ginger Eley, serves alongside Phillips on Gov. Lee’s faith-based office board. 

The Tennessean has noted that Phillips did not respond to any requests for comment.

Mainstream media bias aside, the publication has also stated that since they first started to dig into Big Al Mowing and its state contracts, the company’s website seems to have been deactivated and is no longer accessible.

About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at

9 thoughts on “Member of Gov. Lee’s Faith-Based Board Has Received $4.7 Million In State Contracts Since 2019

  • September 26, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    Is $4.7 million a good deal for an investment of $8250?

    Asking for the Common Core math students.

    I’m guessing Big Al was “essential” in 2020 and got to work that contract. Despite Lockdown Lee scolding us for traveling in our cars and not obeying his stay-at-home edicts. Not really sure why we needed that mowing then…

    Maybe if Mumpower can finish up with the $10k PTO “busts” he could pull the threads on the muti-million contracts to inexperienced companies with no history.

    • September 29, 2023 at 2:44 am

      Cnw928 is contract number big al mowing is still being allowed to mow which is same one that tdot mowed portions of to help them out an as person that has done this knows tdot want help another contractor out also know that you have a 20 day time frame to complete a contract or be penalized $1000.00 a day if you go over an big al mowing has been over on serval contract an not had to pay all penalties i also know that wilson an sumner contracts this year should of been turned over to bonding company along with the ome mentioned above but due to bill lee pull for his friend libby phillips tdot only pulled sumner wilson contract an rebid it costing tdot roughly 70000 to rebid it so if someone from the tennessean will contact me a can inlight you on some more thing on this

    • September 29, 2023 at 2:46 am

      Yes they mowed cause I was working with them at the time

  • September 27, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Does anyone see similarities between Biden and Lee?

  • September 28, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    I have more to add to this story where big al mowing received a incomplete cycle an was not required to turn over to binding company an on same date the state shut a different mowing company down pulled contract also know a lot more regarding big al mowing getting favors where other contractors feet are held to fire

  • September 29, 2023 at 1:14 am

    Amj contracting was the contractor that got his contract pulled the same day big al got a incomplete on mowing contracts and then dgs state wouldn’t let them mow with zero turns but state allowing big al mowing to use them right now on side of highway on mowing contracts so if state hold other mowing contractors feet to fire to complete jobs on time without penalties why not big al mowing

  • September 29, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    Also I wonder how Big Al mowing got the work they got the first year with no experience because I know for facts the same year they started in 2020 there was another company out of Waynesboro tn Wild hogs mowing the state granted a contract to which was 840 then pulled because of experience an lack of assets to cover the job wonder why Lee didn’t help them out like he did Big Al mowing (Libby phillips) people of Tennessee can look on an get any information I am stating an see for themself alot of things on there that are red flags you just have to dig

  • September 29, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Anything I have stated can be found on you can also see where wildhog was granted job in 2020 an they also was a new contractor just as big Al but state ungranted wildhog contract cause of experience an lack of assets to cover his bid to job

  • October 5, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    I also know that there is a state pay scale that contractors have to go by big question is does big al pay the homeless they work state pay scale


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