Investigators find questionable spending at Gatlinburg Webb Creek Utility District

By: WVLT Staff Email
By: WVLT Staff Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee's state comptroller says investigators have uncovered $43, 929.42 in questionable purchases the former management of Webb Creek Utility District in Gatlinburg made between 2010 - 2013.

The former district manager and the assistant district manager provided written statements that they used district funds for personal use. They were fired on August 2, 2013.

The questionable purchases include $19,320.24 in Christmas gifts the former assistant district manager bought for employees and at least one board member. The gifts included laptop computers, iPads and gift cards. These purchases were not approved by the board of commissioners.

Another $7,964.68 went to food the former assistant district manager admitted was for personal use.

The former assistant district manager also purchased televisions and laptop computers at Sam's Club that could not be found in the utility district office.

Investigators also found the district credit card was used to purchase $2,655.66 in restaurant meals,. The majority of those purchases were made at Alamo Steakhouse. The district's travel policy provides reimbursement for meals only when an employee is on overnight travel status.

Comptroller investigators also found another former manager wrote off a customer's $149.88 account balance in exchange for a .38 caliber revolver. That district manager reversed the write off and wrote a personal check to the district. The board demoted the district manager but he remains an employee of the utility district.

As a result of the investigation, the Board has indicated it is making changes and will seek financial restitution.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller's toll-free hotline at (800) 232-4343.

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