Audit Prompts Investigation

The April Grand jury report included a report of an investigation of the Tennessee Department Of Transportation "Litter Grant" monitor review of Loudon County's use of litter grant funds. The Grand Jury encouraged the DA to investigate the report further.

Former Convenience Center manager, Rick Watson, was given the option to resign or be terminated from his position in October 2006. According to Watson, he was first approached by County mayor, Doyle Arp, with questions about certain expenditures of litter grant funds. The questions revolved around food purchases made by Watson through the litter grant funds. The grant funds can be used to buy food for inmates who are on litter pick up patrol with the sheriff department.

Watson opted to purchas food and water for the inmates in wholesale and bulk in an attempt to save money rather than just retail or fast food. The water and food were kept on site at the convenience center. Watson allowed from time to time his employees on site to also eat some of the food which technically could be a violation of liter grant policy since the food was to be for the inmates.

Watson's termination option came from Mayor Arp while he was hospitalized in Nashville with heart problems. Watson was confronted by budget director, Tracy Blair, and purchasing director, Leo Bradshaw at the direction of Arp with his termination/resignation option.