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Senate Committee Wants Glenn Funk's Testimony

Glenn Funk.jpeg
Posted at 10:22 PM, Mar 17, 2015
and last updated 2020-08-28 21:01:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- District Attorney General Glenn Funk appears to be heading for a round of tough questions from a legislative committee.

As even more questions surfaced Tuesday evening, senators said Funk has agreed to testify next week about a state job created for him, before he took office, to help boost his state pension and get health insurance for his family.

That deal was first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

The request for Funk to testify came after a series of questions by the committee revealed that Funk's deal even appears to have been a closely guarded secret inside the state agency where he got the part-time job.

"Who knew what, when?" asked Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown.

For the second week, committee members had tough questions for officials from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

That's the state agency where Funk got that part-time job as a special prosecutor two months before he took office.

"The question I'm going back to what did he do for the money he received?" asked Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.

Funk has acknowledged that he got paid $2,000 a month and qualified for the state's legacy pension system, which did not require employees to contribute to their retirements. He got the job on June 23, 2014, just before the pension system changed to a less lucrative form.

That job was created "as a favor" by Wally Kirby, the longtime executive director of the state agency who recently resigned over the controversy.

In fact, the acting head of the DA's Conference acknowledged that, even though Funk was supposedly on the payroll as a special prosecutor, he was only assigned one case in those two months -- and, as our investigation revealed, appears to have done little real work for the money.

"I cannot argue with your assertion, Senator Bell, that he did not appear to do much in the case," said acting executive director Bill Whitesell.

Even a written summary from Funk himself did little to resolve the questions.

"This is all he did?" Bell asked. "It looks like a good prosecutor could do that in a day."

Even more dramatic was the testimony of the number two man in the agency for the last 18 years, who told senators that Funk's deal was kept a secret from him.

"I wish that I had been aware of the situation, but I wasn't," Guy Jones testified.

Jones told senators and he told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that he learned of the arrangement with Glenn Funk only after our first stories aired.

"I couldn't have assigned a case [to Funk as special prosecutor] because I didn't know he was available to do any cases," Jones said.

It's unusual that someone would have a part-time position in our office. We don't have any part-time people, they are all full-time -- so we know if they were there and if they are available for various kinds of work."

In the end, senators said the person they really wanted to hear from now is Glenn Funk himself.

The chair asked if he would appear without a subpoena, to which DA officials replied that they anticipated he will be there next week.

That apparently confirmed what the senators themselves have been told by Funk's office.

Related stories:
NC5 Investigates: The DA's Deals

Review documents related to DA investigation