The muzzle that was despatched to the previous TN vaccination director was paid for together with her bank card
Tennessee’s former top vaccination officer, who was fired in July, may have muzzled himself for dogs and there’s no evidence he should threaten her, a new state investigation found.
A new investigative report from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security received from The Tennessean shows that the muzzle was linked to Dr. Michelle Fiscus’ own American Express credit card was paid for.
“There is no evidence that the dog’s muzzle was intended to threaten Dr. Fiscus,” wrote Special Agent Mario Vigil in a memo attached to the case, which closed Monday.
Fiscus reportedly received an anonymous muzzled package in July that was released days earlier by the Tennessee Department of Health, her husband Brad Fiscus told The Tennessean at the time.
Michelle Fiscus was fired from her role as the state’s chief vaccination officer in mid-July because she claimed she was politically motivated.
About a week before she was released, she received a box with the Amazon branding in her office containing the item, husband Brad Fiscus said.
There was a black dog muzzle in the box, he said. After opening the box, he said his wife called him and urged her to contact Homeland Security to investigate the sender.
At the time, he told The Tennessean that Amazon refused to release details of the account holder without a subpoena.
Homeland Security began investigating an “incident” involving Michelle Fiscus and a muzzle, spokesman Wes Moster confirmed in a July email.
The results in the report were first reported by Axios.
Vigil found two Amazon accounts on behalf of Michelle Fiscus during his investigation, the report shows.
“The first account was the one that Dr. Fiscus let us see during our interview with her. The second account was the one where the muzzle was bought, ”he wrote. “The AMEX card number on both accounts” is that of Fiscus.
The muzzle was sent from an account created in March this year with only the address of the Fiscus Health Department associated with it.
The agent also examined emails sent to the official Fiscus Department of Health account but found that they did not pose a threat.
In the weeks following her release, Fiscus slammed the state in a 1,200-word statement, accusing health department heads of allowing politicians to undermine the state’s coronavirus response. She says she has been a scapegoat for Republican lawmakers who are unhappy with efforts to vaccinate children.
Brad Fiscus recently announced that he will step down from his role on the Williamson County School Board next month.
Requests for comment to Michelle and Brad Fiscus were not immediately returned.
In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Michelle Fiscus denied having sent herself the muzzle. A statement sent by SMS by Brad Fiscus, attributed to his wife, confirmed the refusal.
Reach reporter Mariah Timms at [email protected] or 615-259-8344 and on Twitter @MariahTimms.