State uncovers $43,000 in questionable spending at Gatlinburg utility

(WBIR) The former management of the Webb Creek Utility District in Gatlinburg is coming under fire after state investigators found they made nearly $44,000 in questionable purchases.

According to a release from the state comptroller, the questionable purchases totaled $43,929.42 and occurred between January 1, 2010 and April 30, 2013.

Records show those included $19,320 worth of Christmas gifts for employees and at least one board member, that had been purchased by the former assistant district manager. Those gifts included laptop computers, iPads, and gift cards. None of the purchases had been approved by the board of commissioners.

The former assistant district manager also admitted to buying nearly $8,000 worth of food for personal use. The worker also bought TVs and laptops that weren't found in the office.

Report: Questionable spending at Webb Creek Utility District

On other occasions the utility district credit card had been used at several restaurants to purchase $2,655.66 in meals, the majority of which occurred at Alamo Steakhouse.

The former district manager and the former assistant district manager were both terminated in August 2013. They confessed to using district funds for personal use.

The investigators also found a former manager wrote off a customer's $150 account balance in 2013 in exchange for a .38 caliber revolver. Four months later, the worker reversed the write-off and wrote a personal check to the district. The board demoted the district manager; however, he still works for the utility district.

The comptroller investigators recommended more oversight and to establish more checks and balances for finances. The board indicated its making changes and plans to seek financial restitution.

Questionable purchases

  • $19,320.24 in Christmas gifts, including laptops, iPads and gift cards
  • $7,964.68 in food that the former assistant district manager admitted was for personal use
  • Televisions and laptops that couldn't be found in the utility district office
  • Utility district credit card used to purchase $2,655.66 in meals at various restaurants


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