Thursday, October 8, 2015

Three Coliseum workers fired, one retires in wake of investigation

The City of Knoxville’s general manager of the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum retired and 3 other employees were fired today after a Knoxville Police Department Internal Affairs investigation discovered financial irregularities involving almost $4,800.

General Manager Dale Dunn retired today, and Assistant General Manager Robert Sandoval, Stage Manager Tom Kelly and Financial Analyst Salina Garrett were terminated.

The investigation showed that Sandoval had used a false name to submit payment records for working events at the Coliseum that he was already being paid to work as a salaried employee. Dunn and Kelly had signed the forms, and Garrett submitted the paperwork, all knowing that Sandoval was being paid additional money by a third party for working the shifts. There is no indication that Dunn, Kelly or Garrett benefited financially.

No City funds were lost in the extra payments. Sandoval, a salaried City employee, also is a member of the International Alliance Theatrical Stage Employees union. To be paid by an event promoter for working a Coliseum event, Sandoval is alleged to have submitted a form with the fake name to the City while sending two copies of the same form to the union that reflected his real name.

The payments to Sandoval from event promoters through the union, typically about $65 each, totaled $4,755.50 over 4½ years.

The KPD investigation found no evidence that any other employee had used a fake name.

The investigation into financial irregularities involving the promoters’ payments to Sandoval began due to internal oversight measures in the City’s Public Assembly Facilities Department, which oversees the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum. Additional safeguards have since been instituted.

“We’ve taken extra steps to enhance accountability,” Public Assembly Facilities Director Greg Mackay said. “We’ve changed how the form is reviewed and processed to prevent this from recurring.”

Meanwhile, Mackay said that experienced Civic Auditorium and Coliseum staff members will manage already-scheduled events at the facility and will continue booking new events.

“The Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum will continue to offer entertaining and well-managed events,” Mackay said. “Changes in management will not affect the experience of fans who will be cheering on the Ice Bears or families who will be enjoying ‘Disney on Ice’ or any other upcoming events.”

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