COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The former executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency at the center of a News4 I-Team investigation is suing his former employer.
Luke Collins filed a civil lawsuit in Putnam County Chancery Court against the mayors and county executives that serve on the agency’s board, accusing them of bribery.
Collins was fired the by the UCHRA Board of Directors after an I-Team investigation after current and former workers were concerned about the actions of Collins.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency serves the poor with government funding, providing Meals on Wheels and rides for people without transportation.
The News4 I-Team found Collins using a transportation van for political purposes, being reimbursed to travel to meetings where there was no proof of him attending and taking personal trips and vacation when his timesheets showed him working.
As a result, he was ultimately fired. A Tennessee Comptroller’s report echoed the I-Team’s findings.
Collins would not comment about his firing when approached by the I-Team after his termination.
He is now suing the agency for $500,000, claiming the mayors and county executives who sit on the agency’s board tried to bribe him, for money, even to hire a relative.
Collins claims it was only when he refused those bribes that he was accused of abusing his comp time to take those vacations.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that the former director has decided to advance his baseless claims in a legal lawsuit,” said Mark Farley, the agency’s current executive director. “The facts around his dismissal was fully investigated by the Comptroller’s office and by an independent attorney and none of this was proven to be true.”
Collins’ attorney said he would do an interview, but his schedule didn’t allow it on Thursday.
The lawsuit said Collins was falsely accused for everything the I-Team exposed and wants back pay as well.
The agency intends to fight the lawsuit.
News4 I-Team investigates Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency
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An embattled government agency at the center of a News4 I-Team investigation is once again facing scrutiny, this time accused of mismanaging $130,249 in federal grant money.
An embattled government agency that provides transportation and meals for the poor could cease to operate as an independent organization.
The findings of a scathing state audit about the former director of a government agency are now in the hands of the district attorney.
The executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency was terminated after an independent attorney hired to investigate his actions made a presentation to the board.
State auditors have alerted the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency that they intend to scrutinize if executive director Luke Collins instructed employees to ultimately “falsify their time” when it came to billing federal grant money.
The summary of an internal investigation by an attorney reveals the board of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency knew of complaints about their executive director two years ago and still kept him in that position.
In the wake of a News 4 I-Team investigation, the executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has been placed on administrative leave.
Photographs obtained by the News 4 I-Team showing members of a government agency carrying campaign signs in a public transit vehicle to a political event has the director of the transportation program calling it “not an allowable activity.”
Minutes from meetings attended by the executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency show he was not in attendance, yet he received per diem, reimbursement of gas mileage and hotels in order to attend those meetings.
On Thursday, Jan. 11, Luke Collins, executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, appeared to be in hog heaven. But a look at his time sheets for that day, there is no mention of being on a trip with his family.
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