LCUB Audit, Ugly
INVESTIGATIVE AUDIT REPORT
LENOIR CITY UTILITIES BOARD
JANUARY 1, 2003, THROUGH JUNE 30, 2005
|For months, rumors have been flying about state
auditors digging around at LCUB. Speculation has run the gamut as to
what they might be looking for. Well the jig is up and it's pretty ugly.
The comptroller's office released the findings of their investigation
Click Here For Full Audit. (PDF) According to the comptroller
office, the investigation was prompted at the request of the district
attorney general's office after having received specific allegations and
concerns. Much of the investigation involved the merger of Dixie Lee
Utilities and LCUB. Many irregularities were found. There is also
discussion about the role former State Representative, Doug Gunnels,
played in facilitating the merger and profiting afterwards. There were
other findings of wrong doing aside from the merger. The audit reports
that copies of the findings have also been sent to the Governor Phil
Bredesen, the State Attorney General, the District Attorney General,
certain state legislators, and various other interested parties. Charges
Indirect conflict of interest
According to sources, now district attorney and former state representative, Russell Johnson, who succeeded Gunnells, says that statute of limitations on "official misconduct" is only two years and because the events occurred in 2000, it is unlikely that any charges will be brought. if a special prosecutor is appointed, Johnson will recuse himself from the investigation because of his close friendship with Gunnels.
Somebody did wrong and should be held accountable. Restitution of all illegal payouts should be made. Further investigations and potential charges are possible.