BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — The fate of a Bristol Tennessee-area utility facing allegations of potential financial mismanagement won’t be decided next month.
Meanwhile, a second member of the South Fork Utility District (SFUD) board of directors has resigned.
The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has continued a hearing on the SFUD that was scheduled for July 14.
A comptroller’s investigation into South Fork found evidence of more than one point five million dollars in what it called questionable payments to companies owned by the utility’s manager, Garry Smith.
The state has recommended South Fork merge with another utility — which could prevent the need for a hearing. A new hearing date has not been set.
The board is now down to just three members after Joe Warren submitted his written resignation late last month.
The board’s status was discussed at a late April meeting of the state’s Utility Management Review Board (UMRB).
“Did you all see any measure of control whatsoever that this board had over what was going on?” UMRB member Bruce Giles asked UMRB staff during that meeting.
“I think the word ‘questionable’ was used multiple times, but when I read through pages and pages of this stuff, in my nine years on this board, this is what appears to be the worst case of abuse or whatever word, adjective I want to use. It appears there was almost no oversight with this board whatsoever into what was going on.”
UMRB staff members said board members did not appear to have utilized appropriate internal controls.