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Auditors launch investigation of Nashville DA's office following NewsChannel 5's revelations

Posted: 6:39 AM, Nov 21, 2022
Updated: 2022-11-21 19:48:23-05
Phil Williams and Glenn Funk.jpeg

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk's office is now the focus of an investigation by state and local auditors following up on evidence uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Among the questions auditors will be investigating: how did a part-time employee collect $75,000 a year with little evidence of what he's doing for the money? They are also expected to review questions about whether office resources were used to help get Funk re-elected.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has learned that details of this new investigation are fluid, with some issues still being sorted out, including the question of whether state auditors will take the lead or whether it will be Metro auditors.

Still, in the words of one knowledgeable source, "something is happening."

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Metro's internal auditor Lauren Riley was cautious in her choice of words.

"The Office of Internal Audit is aware of and has been following your recent news stories related to the District Attorney’s Office," Riley said via email. "We are currently evaluating potential next steps which, if taken, would be in the form of an investigation. We have regular meetings with the Comptroller’s Office, and we will coordinate any work performed with them."

A spokesperson for state Comptroller Jason Mumpower's office was also careful with what he said.

"The Comptroller's Office has broad authority to review government entities including the Office of the District Attorney General of the 20th Judicial District," John Dunn said in a written statement. "It is our policy to not comment further."

Whatever auditors find will likely go to Tennessee's attorney general Jonathan Skrmetti.

A spokesperson says, "The Attorney General’s Office is aware of these issues and has no comment at this time."

Auditors want to find out more about Funk's part-time employment of Michael Brook, the DA's retired finance director who now rakes in $75,000 a year, including billing taxpayers for time when his calendar shows he was golfing.

Yet, records uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates show Brook had swiped into DA offices just five days in two years, logged into the DA's computer system just four days in 11 months and he hadn't sent a work-related email from his DA's account since Sept. 4, 2021.

Related story: Nashville DA’s part-time employee pockets $75,000 per year with little evidence of actual work

We asked retired state auditor Dennis Dycus, "So the fact that he hasn't sent a work-related email in more than a year, what does that tell you?"

"He's not working," Dycus answered. "That 's just my take on it."

Our investigation also caught employees of the DA's office working for Funk's reelection campaign, getting vacation time approved after we started asking questions. In one case, the office withheld an original set of PTO records, giving us forms that had been backdated.

Related story: Questions surround DA employees' involvement in Glenn Funk's reelection campaign

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Dycus, "This raises questions that someone else should investigate?"

"Absolutely," he agreed.

Some have observed that Funk's case against former Mayor Megan Barry hinged on taxpayers being billed for time allegedly not worked by the police bodyguard with whom she had a relationship.

In this case, the DA insists that Michael Brook's time was completely justified and nothing inappropriate was done.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the DA's office for comment over the weekend, but we never heard back.

Do you have information for our investigation? Email us: investigate@newschannel5.com

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NC5 Investigates: The DA's Deals