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Former utility manager indicted for theft

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of Tina Grindstaff, who served as manager of the Bristol-Bluff City Utility District from Aug. 5, 2008 through June 6, 2019.

Comptroller investigators found Grindstaff misappropriated at least $294,810 in district funds by directing unauthorized compensation to herself. This compensation included payments for overtime, leave, holiday, and bonus pay that were not authorized by the district’s board of commissioners or Grindstaff’s employment agreement. 

In addition to paying herself unauthorized compensation, Grindstaff paid bonuses to employees totaling at least $24,025 that were not approved. These bonuses were not reflected on the employees’ annual W-2 forms. 

The investigation also reveals Grindstaff directed questionable payments and provided life insurance for her father totaling at least $132,907.

Furthermore, Grindstaff made questionable payments to her aunt totaling $24,200. Investigators were unable to locate sufficient documentation and board authorization to support these payments.

Finally, Grindstaff made questionable purchases and withdrawals totaling $13,897. Some of these disbursements included money for a boat repair, pool equipment, veterinary expenses, a karaoke machine, and tanning bed bulbs. Investigators could not determine if these disbursements were exclusively for the benefit of the district. 

In July 2021, the Sullivan County grand jury indicted Grindstaff on one count of theft over $250,000, one count of theft over $60,000, and two counts of theft over $2,500. 

If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-232-5454, or file a report online at