NES audit finds vendors paid without bidding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state comptroller says the Nashville Electric Service has paid about $17 million to two vendors since 2005 that did not go through the proper bidding process.

A critical audit released Thursday said the electric utility is required to seek competitive bids from approved vendors, but a manufacturer and a distributor were paid more than $13 million and more than $4 million respectively in an exclusive arrangement.

The Tennessean reports the audit also found improper use of a credit card, issues with procurement cards and reporting of travel expenses, as well as non-disclosure of a conflict of interest and hospitality packages with Gaylord Entertainment.

District Attorney General Torry Johnson said in a statement that while policies were violated and oversight was lacking, there was no evidence of criminal behavior.

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