State Denies Askins' Unemployment Claim - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: UCDD

State Denies Askins' Unemployment Claim

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By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The former head of the Upper Cumberland Development District has failed in her effort to get more of your tax money.

Wendy Askins resigned back in March just before a vote on whether she would be fired, but then she applied for unemployment.

In a recent letter from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state tells Askins that she was the one who quit and, as a result, she's on her own.

"Claimant voluntarily left (her) most recent work," the letter reads. "Although claimant's reason for leaving met (her) personal needs, the reason is not considered a good work-related cause to quit" under Tennessee's unemployment compensation laws.

Askins made a surprise appearance in March before a committee that had been investigating her, submitting her resignation before the committee could make a recommendation on her fate.

That came after our investigation uncovered the mismanagement of hundreds of thousands of dollars of UCDD funds, including money spent on that million-dollar Living the Dream home in rural Putnam County.

However, Askins later applied for unemployment, claiming she quit because of "harassment and/or hostility" in the workplace.

Askins was given 15 days to appeal the denial.

As for the investigation, UCDD officials say that state auditors were back at the agency this week, although it appears they are getting close to the end of their work.

A lot of the criminal investigation, with the FBI and others, will depend on what auditors say they found.

E-mail: pwilliams@newschannel5.com

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