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Askins could be suspended today
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Upper Cumberland Development District executive director Wendy Askins could be suspended today when the agency’s Executive Committee has a specially called meeting to discuss allegations of widespread corruption.The meeting is set for 10 a.m. at the UCDD office in Cookeville.“It may be too early to ask for her resignation, but it’s not too early to suspend her without pay,” said state Rep. Charles Curtiss, who is a member of the Executive Committee. “It’s certainly not too soon to suspend her.”Askins is under investigation for misusing funds at the 14-county state government agency which serves Warren County. UCDD is an agency intended to help the poor and appropriate grant money for government projects.Askins is accused of reimbursing herself for personal purchases and making other checks out to cash, living in a $1 million mansion intended to be a retirement center, doctoring meeting minutes for an open records request, and violating nepotism rules by employing four family members, including both her parents, and giving all four state vehicles with gas cards.Many other instances of fraud have been leveled.Among those is Askins was reimbursed $300 from UCDD funds for a silver platter she gave as a wedding gift to Warren County Executive John Pelham’s daughter.