Written by Chas Sisk, The Tennessean
An agency set up to provide social services in 14 counties on the Cumberland Plateau squandered $2 million in state and federal funding on travel, entertainment and subsidies for a training resort, the comptroller's office said Tuesday.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, which provides job training, food for the elderly and other services, spent nearly $60,000 on a trip to Washington, D.C. last year, more than $3,000 on meals in Nashville and more than $100,000 a year on mobile phones for employees, an audit by the comptroller found.
The organization also had spent nearly $1.7 million since 1995 on subsidies for the Lakeside Resort and Educational Training Complex.
The agency is separate from the Upper Cumberland Development District, which is also being audited following allegations of misspending.
According to the comptroller's office, the UCHRA spent nearly $4,300 on a dinner during a March 2011 trip to Washington, D.C., consuming more than 30 alcoholic drinks. The organization also spent more than $3,000 on two other meals during the trip, in which 30 agency officials, employees and guests were to meet with members of Congress.
The organization also spent $1,225 for the delegation to attend a performance at Ford's Theatre, $289 to visit Madame Tussauds wax museum and $284 for a trip to Mount Vernon.