LCBPU controversy results in charges
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation charged former Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities’ superintendent Billy Wiley Wednesday with theft following an investigation of his tenure at the utility and the release of the state comptroller’s audit earlier this year.
Wiley was indicted by the Lincoln County Grand Jury Tuesday on the charge of theft of property between $60,000-$250,000. He was released from the Lincoln County Jail on $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court here Oct. 8.
Marla Holloway, an assistant district attorney general for the 14th Judicial District was named as the neutral prosecutor selected to handle the investigation. Holloway acknowledged Wednesday that Wiley had been served the warrant on felony theft charges. When asked if there would be any other instances taken to the grand jury related to the investigation, Holloway said, “We presented everything we had yesterday.”
Comptroller Justin P. Wilson’s audit, released in early March, revealed numerous alleged abuses between 2008-11. Allegations in the audit cited excessive wages and bonuses paid from 2008-2011 to employees totaling nearly $300,000 in ratepayer money. Findings of the audit also documented that the former superintendent gave more than $13,000 in water adjustments — essentially discounts on water bills and new water taps — to utility board members, employees and some customers. There were also multiple allegations of questionable travel reimbursements, credit card charges, conflict of interest, inventory issues and other purchases made without the permission of the Lincoln County Finance Department.
Wiley resigned late in 2011 amid the controversy.
An independent law firm was hired by LCBPU in April 2013 to seek to recoup funds that may have been unlawfully paid, as determined by the comptroller’s report.