Knox Co. mayor met with security company owner under fire

11:54 PM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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We are learning more tonight about who knew what, and when, in the security investigation involving the Knox County Schools.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's office has confirmed to 10News that the mayor had a meeting last summer with the security contractor now under fire.

Over the past few days the media attention has focused on Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre. 10News asked him to clarify the timeline of when he knew about security problems at two Knox County Schools, Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School. On Tuesday night 10News asked the same thing of Mayor Burchett. 

Last Friday, Mayor Burchett told 10News he knew about the lawsuit involving the security company, Professional Security Consultants and Design, and the Public Building Authority because it was public record, initially filed in March 2012. But, he said didn't know all of the details in that suit, including about an an external audit the PBA had done of the security systems at Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School in 2011, until he read the newspaper that morning.

On Tuesday, the mayor's office revealed to 10News that the mayor also knew about another audit conducted in 2012 conducted last year--that also mentions the security concerns. His office confirmed he knew about that internal audit done by Knox County in August, 2012. That audit was primarily to address the cost of construction of Hardin Valley Academy. It mentions pending litigation between the PBA and a security contractor Knox County schools had used during construction.

The mayor's office admitted to 10News Tuesday night, that the did in fact meet with, Mike Walker, the owner of that security firm tied to both audits and lawsuit. A spokesperson for Burchett's office told us, "Yes, our office was aware of the two vague paragraphs in the audit report, but our office was not aware of the details of the issues in Knox County Schools....The mayor met with Mike Walker on Aug. 27, 2012."

The mayor's spokesperson said the office didn't dig deeper because of the pending lawsuit. 10News has asked why the internal lawsuit didn't raise a red flag and cause them to ask more questions. 10News hopes to learn more from the mayor's office, and the mayor himself, on Wednesday.

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