Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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