NewsNewsChannel 5 InvestigatesThe DA's Deals


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

Audit expert: 'You've laid out documentation that raises significant questions ... that need to be answered'
Posted: 11:12 AM, Nov 07, 2022
Updated: 2022-11-08 17:45:04-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — He's a $75,000-a-year government employee who gets paid with little evidence of what he's doing for the money.

Week after week, he bills taxpayers for almost 20 hours a week, hours frequently listed in the middle of the night when no one else is around. He's almost never recorded swiping through the office security system, logging into the computer system or sending an email.

That man works for Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk.

Funk insists it's all on the up-and-up.

But when NewsChannel 5 Investigates showed what we discovered to an expert who was once one of Tennessee's top state auditors, he saw plenty of potential problems.

"Do they have any other jobs like this? I'd like to apply," Dennis Dycus quipped.

Dycus, who retired as the director of municipal audit for the Tennessee Comptroller's Office, said NewsChannel 5's evidence merits a full investigation of the DA's Office itself.

We asked, "Have you ever seen anything like this?"

"Oh, yes," Dycus answered.

"Did it turn out well?"

"No, it didn't."

Who is the $75,000/year employee?

During Funk' re-election campaign earlier this year, NewsChannel 5 Investigates was bombarded with various tips from current and former members of the DA's staff, including questions about a mystery employee where co-workers had no idea what he did.

The mystery employee, Michael Brook, retired as the DA's finance director at the end of January 2020.

Michael Brook Retirement Pic.jpg
Instagram post about Michael Brook's retirement (Brook on left)

But, within days, Brook was submitting timesheets for working part-time.

In an email to Metro human resources, Brook explained that he'd be working to help with "on-going staffing transitions."

And, in fact, there is evidence he did just that, at least for a time.

Yet, even as Michael Brook's replacements were notifying outsiders that he needed to be taken off office emails, records show Brook kept submitting timesheets billing taxpayers for his time week after week -- every single week for more than two years, never taking a week for vacation or not feeling well, charging taxpayers for 19.5 hours a week every week.

In 2020, on a timesheet submitted in advance, he reported he planned to work Christmas Eve, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and on Christmas night, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Click on image below to view all timesheets:

Dycus found that curious.

"How many other people work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the office?"

We answered, "You would presume not many."

"Uh-huh," the retired state auditor nodded.

Brook also billed taxpayers for the following New Year's Eve, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and July 4th, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"Working all hours of the morning, working on weekends, working on holidays — as Spock said on Star Trek, it does not compute," Dycus continued.

Adding to the questions:

  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained office security records showing Brook swiping into the DA's offices just five days in two years.
  • Investigating evidence of him working remotely, we checked virtual private network (VPN) records and Brook had logged into the office computer system remotely just four days out of the previous 11 months.
  • Out of 32 months reviewed, Brook's electronic calendar shows 18 months where there are no work-related appointments noted. Appointments in most of the other 14 months are sparse.
  • When we obtained the sent box from his work email, it showed no work-related emails from that account since September 4th of last year. A substantial number of emails sent since during the period of his post-retirement, part-time employment related to golf, cricket, rugby, soccer and other personal matters.
  • A public records request for Michael Brook's name in emails of DA Office leadership did not uncover any evidence of him using a personal email account for office business, except to submit timesheets.

Despite the lack of evidence of on-going work, Brook has continued to get paid $75,000 a year, in addition to his $86,000 per year Metro pension.

View Michael Brook's email sent folder below:

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked 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 — that 's just my take on it," Dycus said.

"He's not working because if he's working from home, the way that you are going to communicate with your office is through emails."

We noted, "Especially if you are working at 3 a.m."

"Especially if you are working at 3 a.m.," Dycus agreed. "So I would look for a lot of emails."

Funk: 'Michael Brook is an important member of our office’

So what does the retired DA's employee do for your hard-earned tax dollars?

When we tried to talk to Brook, he sent us an email referring us to Funk's office for comment.

So we waited two weeks for a reply from them.

When we heard nothing, we finally decided to ask the DA himself as he prepared to enter a meeting of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "What does Michael Brook do to earn $75,000 a year?"

Funk initially ignored our question.

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Phil Williams attempts to interview Glenn Funk

"My understanding is that every one of your requests is being responded to," the DA said, adding: "I have Roger Moore talking to you because I don't trust you."

In fact, Funk's deputy Roger Moore was not responding to our questions.

So we pressed, "What does Michael Brook do to earn $75,000 a year?"

"Michael Brook is an important member of our office, has been for years," Funk insisted.

Again, we asked, "What does he do?"

"And he has worked non-stop to make sure the transition has gone forward with regards to the financial pieces of our office, as well as the HR pieces and as far as the bodycams go."

So why is there so little evidence of him working?

"He also does a lot of work with regard to certain transitions that take place," Funk continued.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "We have evidence of him charging taxpayers when he's golfing. Do you approve of that?"

"I don't think you've got any evidence of him charging taxpayers when he's golfing," the DA shot back.

Expert: ‘All kinds of bells and whistles going off’

But Michael Brook's email shows he had tickets to the PGA Championship in May 2021, specifically including "Thursday grounds" tickets. His timesheet shows he charged taxpayers for working that Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Emails show that Brook had plans for a golf outing to Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. That same day, Mr. Brook's timesheet claims he was working 1-6 p.m.

His work calendar from June 24, 2021, shows he was scheduled for a round of golf at 10 a.m., yet his timesheet shows he got paid for working from 9 to 11 a.m.

Click on image below to view Michael Brook's calendar:

"This is a huge inconsistency right here," Dycus insisted.

And Brook's timesheet shows that on Sunday, October 17th of last year, he charged taxpayers for working 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

But the next morning, he replied to an office email just before noon, offering his "apology for the late submission," saying he had "'slept in' this AM after a great day at the races."

Those horse races were at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.

"He slept in after a great time at the races," Dycus read.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "Again, red flags?"

"Oh, yes. All kinds of bells and whistles going off," the retired state auditor said.

Dennis Dycus.jpeg
Retired state auditor Dennis Dycus reviews evidence

Funk defended Brook.

"He's the most honest man, he's a hard-working man, he's also really smart and does a great job for our city."

Glenn Funk's own controversial history

In fact, Glenn Funk himself is no stranger to such controversies.

After winning the Democratic primary eight years ago, our 2015 investigation discovered a friend put Funk on the payroll of the state's DA conference while he waited to take office — to help him qualify for a more lucrative pension and for health insurance.

At that time, we had asked Funk, if the job was created "as a favor."

"Sure, as a favor," he answered, "and they expected me to do some work and I did it."

That exchange would trigger a TBI investigation, with Tennessee's attorney general later concluding "Mr. Funk's part-time employment ... was designed to give him a financial benefit to which he otherwise would not have been entitled. He received pension, salary, and health insurance benefits for virtually no work."

Still, the AG decided not to prosecute Funk after he agreed to pay the money back.

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Phil Williams interviews Glenn Funk, 2015

Related: Nashville DA broke law, won't face prosecution

As for Funk's deal with Michael Brook, Dennis Dycus said what we uncovered also needs to be investigated.

"You've laid out documentation that raises significant questions," he continued.

"By itself, it doesn't prove a thing, but it sure generates questions that need to be answered. And if they can't be answered correctly, we've got some serious problems."

After our encounter with General Funk, NewsChannel 5 Investigates again reached out to his office, as well as Michael Brook, providing specific details of what we planned to report to give them a chance to dispute our findings.

We also asked for documentation of the work Brook had performed.

All we got in response was a statement from the office. It states:

"After 40 years of service to Metro, our office is fortunate to have Mr. Brook as a part-time employee following his retirement. His position is such that he is able to work remotely. We are satisfied Mr. Brook earned the pay he received."

As for the discrepancies we uncovered, the statement offered absolutely no explanation.

View the evidence for yourself: Michael Brook's timesheets * Michael Brook's sent folder * Michael Brook's Outlook calendar * Michael Brook's office swipe records * Michael Brook's VPN records * Selected Michael Brook emails

Do you have information for our investigation? Email us:

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NC5 Investigates: The DA's Deals