District Attorney General finds results "quite disturbing"
By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
District Attorney General Tommy Thompson said he found the results of the recent audit of the Gladeville Utility District “quite disturbing.”
Thompson was notified of the audit which showed that, “The former general manager received payments totaling $300,211 that were either not approved and/or were in violation of district policy,” before it became public.
Thompson said he requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter at that time.
When TBI completes its investigation, which Thompson said would most likely take from 30 to 45 days, his office and the TBI will decide whether to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation to become involved.
However, if other violent cases intervene, he said it could take a little longer.
“This is not going away, but it has a lesser priority than murder or other violent crimes,” he said.
Because state law doesn’t allow witnesses called before the grand jury in an investigation to be prosecuted as a result of the investigation, he said if the TBI thinks this matter should be prosecuted the federal system will be asked to take the case.
“If the state grand jury calls someone to testify then they can’t indict them,” Thompson said. “But on the federal level it’s a felony to lie to an FBI agent.”
Clifford Walker, the former general manager of the GUD, is alleged to have received those payments between June 2006 and his retirement in May 2008.
“If I was a rate payer, I’d feel that my trust had been violated,” Thompson said in an interview Monday. He also said the large amount of money was of special concern to him now due to the condition of the economy.
The total amount included improper compensation to Walker of $38,602 for unused vacation days and $150,032 in unused sick leave pay.
The audit said Walker also ordered a $13,362 cash salary adjustment for himself and received $71,440 in excess pay due to an unauthorized pay raise of 31 percent or $714 per week, when the board of commissioners approved only 3 to 6 percent.
The audit also said he received an unapproved salary advance of $26,775 during the first five months of 2008. All of these types of compensation are legal issues, according to the audit.
Thompson said he expected restitution to be one of the requirements in the case.
The Wilson Post attempted to contact Walker for comment but found that the two numbers listed in the phone book for him have been disconnected.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.