District attorney reviewing findings by state into UCHRA - WSMV News 4

District attorney reviewing findings by state investigators into UCHRA

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Luke Collins sits at the UCHRA Board meeting on Feb. 20, 2018. The UCHRA Board voted to place Collins on administrative leave with pay at the meeting. He was terminated at a meeting held on May 9, 2018. (WSMV) Luke Collins sits at the UCHRA Board meeting on Feb. 20, 2018. The UCHRA Board voted to place Collins on administrative leave with pay at the meeting. He was terminated at a meeting held on May 9, 2018. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A just-released Comptroller’s investigation found multiple problems with a government agency and its former executive director that have been the subject of an ongoing News4 I-Team investigation.

District Attorney Bryan Dunaway is now reviewing investigators’ findings to see if any criminal charges are warranted.

The investigation echoes what the News4 I-Team uncovered that ultimately resulted in the termination of Luke Collins, the former director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

The investigation confirmed that Collins’ timesheets showed him working while social media reports showed him out of the office.

The Comptroller’s investigators also blamed the agency itself for leading Collins to believe that he could claim comp time even though he is exempt.

The investigation found that Collins, “is not entitled to earn compensatory time and should take annual and/or sick leave when absent from work.”


RELATED DOCUMENT: Tennessee Comptroller's Office audit


"The former executive director indicated he was working those days, that showed he was either on a hunting trip in Colorado or on a cruise,” said Comptroller spokesperson John Dunn.

Investigators also found Collins made taxpayer-funded trips out of town and while there is no evidence of him attending meetings or conferences.

Investigators also found that Collins received reimbursement and charged thousands of dollars to the agency’s credit card for attending a conference in Washington DC, but he never registered for the conference.

Collins told investigators he may have been in Washington lobbying for transportation and other departments and insisted he was, in fact, in Washington.

In total, Collins received $706.77 in reimbursements for the three trips in question and charged $3,791.31 to the agency’s credit card.

“That money should be accounted for," Dunn said.


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: Time sheet shows government official working; video & photos indicate otherwise | Records: Government official paid to attend certain meetings but didn’t show up | Designed for transit of poor, vehicle used to travel to political event | Embattled agency director placed on administrative leave | Executive director of government agency terminated after I-Team reportsAgency board knew of complaints about executive director 2 years ago 


The News 4 I-Team has repeatedly attempted to interview Collins about our findings, including how he used an agency transportation vehicle, designed to take people to the doctor, to travel to a political rally, but he refused to speak with us and his attorney once threatened to have us arrested.

The state investigation also found that Collins entered into legally binding agreements on behalf of the agency without prior board approval and failed to report allegations of fraud, waste and abuse about a former UCHRA employee.

The investigation also criticized UCHRA for paying in advance for travel expenses of board members, board members family, employees and employee’s family.

While the money was paid back, the Comptroller found the agency should not use its fund to pay personal and non-employee travel expenses.

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