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DA Faces Questions From Council Committee

council budget meeting
Posted at 10:17 PM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2020-08-28 21:10:09-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- District Attorney General Glenn Funk faced public questions for the first time Thursday night over a scandal that now has him at the center of a criminal investigation.

It came as he presented his budget to the Metro Council's budget committee, leading to some testy exchanges.

"It seems to me that the impression of wrongdoing took place, the impression of a misuse of public funds took place," said Council member Phil Claiborne.

Funk faces a TBI investigation over a deal he struck last fall to boost his pension and get health insurance two months before he took office.

That deal was first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

But most of the questions centered on Funk's hiring of his campaign manager, Kevin Teets, as a prosecutor.

As NewsChannel 5 Investigates first revealed, Teets was allowed to take time off, without filing out the forms to document it.

"Is that form too difficult or tedious?" asked Council member Charlie Tygard.

"No, it is not," Funk answered.

"Just not in the habit of doing it?" Tygard continued.

"It is not a tough form, and there's no excuse for that not being done," Funk said.

Later, the DA's office created documentation that Funk signed, then said was wrong after NewsChannel 5 began asking questions.

While the time-off forms showed Teets got 38 days off -- with pay -- during his five months on the job, Funk told the committee that the real number was more like 22.

He claimed that was still within policy -- a suggestion that had some Council members shaking their heads.

"If I were an attorney going into prosecute a case and I had backdated documents as a part of my evidence files, I would be all smiles," Claiborne said.

But committee chairman Bill Pridemore tried to stop questions from Claiborne about an email sent out when Teets decided not to show up back in January.

"It says 'seems Teets has moved on to another political election and will not be part of our team any longer,'" the Council member read from the email obtained by NewsChannel 5.

Pridemore interrupted, "Mr. Claiborne, Councilman Claiborne, I would appreciate it if you would...."

As Claiborne tried to argue his point, the chairman cut off his microphone.

Pridemore continued, "if you would continue to ask questions pertaining to the budget. Thank you, please, sir."

Later, Claiborne was allowed to continue.

He asked the DA if Teets was removed from the payroll immediately after that email was sent out on Sunday, January 4, indicating that Teets had resigned.

"Was he removed from the payroll when this information came into your office," Claiborne said. "If not, why not?"

Funk said, "We heard that he was leaving to join a campaign that was coming up on Monday. He was not hired on that campaign on Monday and so he was not removed from the payroll."

The DA admitted that Teets did not show up for work that week at all.

Funk acknowledged that Teets had very little prosecution experience, but said he hired his former campaign manager for his "life experience."

Related stories:
NC5 Investigates: The DA's Deals

Review documents related to DA investigation