State Lawmakers Promise UCDD Investigation - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: UCDD

State Lawmakers Promise UCDD Investigation

Posted:

By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Lawmakers are now promising a full investigation of what some are calling a full-blown scandal involving the Upper Cumberland Development District.

It follows an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation of the Cookeville-based agency that's supposed to create jobs and help the poor.

Those lawmakers say their constituents are demanding answers -- the same message being heard on talk radio.

"When you are seeing dollar go to lavish parties and political fundraisers rather than the people in our communities who really need help, I think people can understand that in a more visceral, more direct and more personal way," said Nashville talk show host Steve Gill.

"I think that's why people are outraged by this."

They're upset about all the money spent by the UCDD on a million dollar home that was supposed to become a home for seniors, but also became home for UCDD executive director Wendy Askins.

There's also agency money spent on alcohol, political fundraisers and gifts.

During Thursday's show, Gill urged his listeners, "Do not let them look the other way. Do not let this story go away without these people being called to account."

"It's a message being heard on Capitol Hill where Lebanon Republican Mark Pody has called a meeting of all the legislators from the 14 Middle Tennessee counties served by the UCDD to begin their own investigation.

"We want to find out exactly who is doing what and what the extent of this is," Pody said. "This is taxpayers' money and we need to know what's going on."

It's an idea supported by Rep. Charles Curtiss, a Democrat from Sparta, who actually serves on the UCDD board. Curtiss says he was stunned by what we discovered.

"The board is a part-time board. We are not there, sitting there all day, and we don't know," he explained. "We've been getting audits back every year and nothing has shown up in those audits that would cause us any grief."

It's grief they're now hearing loud and clear.

One caller to Steve Gill's show joked about UCDD officials, "I wish they put them on chain gains."

Pody says he wants to get all the lawmakers from those 14 counties together next week to discuss a plan to begin their own investigation. He anticipates that legislative hearings could come at some point after that.

  • NewsChannel 5 InvestigatesMore>>

  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates:

    NewsChannel 5 Receives Prestigious Peabody Award

    NewsChannel 5 Receives Prestigious Peabody Award

    April 2, 2014 01:22 PM 2014-04-02 19:05:51 GMT
    NewsChannel 5 and the NewsChannel 5 Investigates team have been honored with one of broadcasting's highest honors, the coveted George Foster Peabody Award, for an on-going investigation of Tennessee state government.more>>
    NewsChannel 5 and the NewsChannel 5 Investigates team have been awarded one of broadcasting's highest honors, the coveted George Foster Peabody Award, for an on-going investigation of Tennessee state government, it was announced Wednesday.more>>
  • NC5 Investigates: Economic Incentives

    UAW: 'Ball Is Back In The Governor's Court'

    UAW: 'Ball Is Back In The Governor's Court'

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-21 23:31:06 GMT
    The United Auto Workers ended one battle Monday, but the struggle to represent Volkswagen workers appears to be far from over. And union officials promised to turn up the heat in Congress over how the Haslam administration used your money.more>>
    The United Auto Workers ended one battle Monday, but the struggle to represent Volkswagen workers appears to be far from over. And union officials promised to turn up the heat in Congress over how the Haslam administration used your money.more>>
  • NC5 Investigates: Economic Incentives

    UAW Drops Appeal Of Volkswagen Vote

    UAW Drops Appeal Of Volkswagen Vote

    The United Auto Workers has dropped its appeal of the February vote that it lost to unionize workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, the UAW announced Monday morning.more>>
    The United Auto Workers has dropped its appeal of the February vote that it lost to unionize workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, the UAW announced Monday morning.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.