(WJHL) — An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller Office led to the indictment of a former Bristol-Bluff City utility manager.
Tina L. Grindstaff was charged on multiple counts after investigators found she misappropriated $294,810.71 in district funds by directing the compensation to herself — this included payments for overtime, leave, holiday and bonus pay that was never authorized.
A release from the comptroller’s office states investigators also discovered that Grindstaff paid unauthorized bonuses to employees totaling at least $24,025 that were not reflected on the employees’ annual W-2 forms.
Grindstaff is also accused of allegedly directing “questionable payments” and life insurance for her father, totaling at least $132,907.13. Another $24,200 was found to have been directed to Grindstaff’s aunt.
More of Grindstaff’s alleged expenditures with district funds include $13,897.33 used for “questionable purchases” of the following:
- boat repair
- pool equipment
- veterinary expenses
- a karaoke machine
- tanning bed bulbs
A Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted Grindstaff on one count of theft over $250,000; one county of theft over $60,000; and two counts of theft over $2,500.
The Bristol-Bluff City Utility District (BBCUD) issued its own release, saying the district “acted quickly to identify irregularities in the management of the utility upon the resignation of its past manager, Tina Grindstaff in June 2019.”
The release states that BBCUD worked in conjunction with the comptroller’s office to address Grindstaff’s actions.
Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower noted in his office’s release that BBCUD and other local authorities assisted in the investigation.
“I’m pleased to note that commissioners are taking steps to address these issues,” Mumpower wrote.
Tim Ham has replaced Grindstaff in her role as general manager, according to the release. Ham was recommended by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts for the position.