Friday, July 25 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:44:03 GMT
President Barack Obama is summoning Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress...Full Story >
Pressing for action on Friday, President Barack Obama urged Central American presidents and congressional Republicans at home to help ease the influx of minors and migrant families crossing the southwest border of the U.S.Full Story >
Friday, July 25 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:33:36 GMT
French officials say that the wreckage of an Air Algeria plane which crashed with 116 people aboard has been found in Mali.Full Story >
Aviation experts, criminal investigators and soldiers began converging Friday on an isolated patch of restive Mali to search for clues that might explain why an Air Algerie jetliner fell from the sky in a storm and...Full Story >
Friday, July 25 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:23:27 GMT
An Israeli defense official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.Full Story >
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that more work was needed to reach a deal between Israel and Hamas for a seven-day truce in the Gaza war. Israel's defense minister warned that the military may soon...Full Story >
Friday, July 25 2014 4:09 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:09:20 GMT
The Ukrainian army has reported rebel attacks overnight throughout the restive east, claiming that at one border crossing the rebels were supported by artillery fire from the Russian side.Full Story >
Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.Full Story >
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A program to improve children's health was so riddled with questionable expenses that the Metro Health Department had to pay back more than $50,000 in grant money. The Channel 4 I-Team discovered the health department employee who oversaw the grant also served as an officer on the board of the agency that received the grant money.
An audit by the state found the Metro Health Department spent thousands of taxpayers' dollars on an expensive event, public relations, high-end computers and a questionable payroll, and that there was a lack of oversight of the program.
The Metro Health Department contracted with a Nashville non-profit called National Step Show Alliance to teach step dancing to Metro middle school children. The grant money came from the state as part of a program to fight obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Bill Paul, who heads the Metro Health Department, agreed that oversight was lacking.
"I feel like it could have been better. It needed to be better," Paul said. An employee working under Dr. Paul was in charge of the grant.
"Yeah, there were things that were purchased that he should not have signed off to be reimbursed," he said.
The grant money was paid to the National Step Show Alliance, or NSSA.
The state said Metro should not have reimbursed NSSA for gift cards and meals totaling more than $4,000; $11,000 in expenses to put on a step show event, including photography, sound system rental, and making show DVDs.
The grant also paid for an Apple computer worth more than $3,300 as well as a $928iPad.
Auditors also questioned $8,000 worth of salaries they said were submitted on duplicate time sheets, each with different hours. Both time sheets were paid.
The Health Department's board is not very happy.
"We have a management problem," said board chairman Bill Hance. "There was no oversight. I can speak for the board, we're very concerned."
The I-Team also discovered that the health department employee in charge of overseeing the grant, Warren Isenhour, also served as the treasurer for the agency receiving the grant money, the National Step Show Alliance.
The I-Team asked Dr. Paul, "Are you aware that he's a board member of the organization?"
"He is a board member of the organization? No, I wasn't aware of that," Dr. Paul said.
We asked if he considered that a problem.
"I do," Dr. Paul said. "That's a conflict of interest."
But it turns out, Dr. Paul has been aware of the conflict of interest for nearly a year.
The I-Team obtained an internal health department email copied to Dr. Paul showing that in November 2012, Metro's Legal Department said the conflict "will need to be disclosed."
After our interview with Dr. Paul, he emailed us a statement saying " ..after refreshing my memory about Step Up, I realize I was notified of Warren's conflict of interest in being on the NSSA board."
In spite of all this controversy and mismanagement, no one from the Metro Health Department was ever fired.
Isenhour was laid off in September, more than six months after the Metro Health Department had to reimburse the state $50,000.
Dr. Paul says the important thing is to build systems to catch things like this in the future.
"It's kind of like when there's a train wreck. A lot of people want to point fingers, and you want heads to roll. But the National Transportation Safety Board really is trying to figure out how you stop the next one from happening," he said.
Channel 4 asked, "Wasn't this a train wreck due to staff not doing their job?"
"Well, this was due to staff not doing their job because we didn't put them in, we didn't give them proper training, we didn't give them the proper systems of oversight," he said.
"It says to me, nobody was watching it," said Hance.
The I-Team contacted Warren Isenhour, who said he doesn't think he had a conflict of interest. He says he resigned from the Step Alliance board while overseeing the project at the health department.
It's important to note that the state health department - that's who gave Metro the grant money - says there are no allegations that anyone stole any money.
There were a lot of questions about how the money was spent and about oversight of the program.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, July 25 2014 11:13 AM EDT2014-07-25 15:13:25 GMT
Police planned Friday to present their case to prosecutors on whether charges should be filed against an 80-year-old man who fatally shot of one of two burglars who attacked him when he found them ransacking his home.Full Story >
Police planned Friday to give prosecutors the results of their investigation into an 80-year-old man's fatal shooting of one of two burglars who attacked him when he found them ransacking his home.Full Story >
Friday, July 25 2014 10:38 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:38:42 GMT
Two teenagers accused of torturing a 16-year-old boy inside a shed were sentenced to prison Thursday. Jenna Montgomery and Jess Taylor both pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery and assault charges. MontgomeryFull Story >
Two teenagers accused of torturing a 16-year-old boy inside a shed were sentenced to prison Thursday.Full Story >
Thursday, July 24 2014 8:05 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:05:21 GMT
The Eastville volunteer fire department confirms a tornado touched down at a campground on the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday morning, killing three people. The volunteer fire department confirms three peopleFull Story >
A New Jersey couple was identified as the victims of a tornado that hit the Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort in Northampton. Full Story >