The Heitman family is finally receiving some local attention for their efforts. Much of the attention centers around the discovery of this post-death audit. You can read the latest here, here and here. Here are some points to ponder that have yet to be discussed:
1. Findings 1-11 suggest that though Alex had access to millions of dollars, not one dollar was traced into his personal possession.
2. The BOE chose to withhold emails that may have helped with the discovery process. There are two file boxes full of emails that I’ve personally viewed that contain substantial inter-office communications that may very well address some of the auditors concerns.
3. Whereas the first 11 findings resulted from direct scrutiny of evidence by the auditor, the findings that allude to possible improprieties rely heavily, if not entirely, on the statements and data provided by management.
For the last 2 years, I’ve tried to help this family in whatever ways I could. I am perplexed at how they’ve been treated by just about every government agency they’ve dealt with. Through their pursuit of public records, countless individuals have either ignored them, lied to them or were blatantly disrespectful.
It certainly begs the question, Why? Why not make things easier on everyone and simply turn over what is supposed to be public information anyway? As I stated here, all we are doing is compounding their pain when we could be of some help.
Theories abound about the behavior of officials in Cocke County and Anderson County, but I’m most concerned with how the City of Oak Ridge has handled the Heitman requests. First, in these emails (Akagi Heitman Emails) Chief Akagi denied the existence of a check cashing fraud ring that Alex helped to expose.
Once he was forced to admit that Alex had, in fact, launched the investigation through his complaint, both he and our city manager denied possessing any additional files related to Alex. They denied this to the family and Mr. Watson repeated the denial to all of council in an executive session with our city attorney.
But after a subsequent request by the family, they “discovered” that we actually possessed an entire other file that includes key documents like this 2 page memo from Tom Bailey in which he explains why he insisted that Alex meet with him that fatal morning instead of going on his planned vacation.
It also contains reference to a copy of his hard drive that was still physically located in the ORPD evidence room. Upon discovery, on May 27, 2014, the DA immediately ordered the evidence be transferred into the hands of the TBI. My city attorney now tells me that a forensics analysis is being performed by officials in Nashville. When I asked if this meant that the TBI now had an open investigation, he said, “yes.”
This may be a major development for the family since the FBI has yet to acknowledge their request and, to date, neither they nor the TBI has ever publicly confirmed that an investigation of any kind had ever been conducted related to Alex’s death.
I am told by people who know better than I to still not expect a public affirmation of any kind. Regardless, I will continue to do whatever I can to help the Heitman family. I am both humbled and honored by their trust in me. Moreover, I consider such endeavors for truth to be the highest priority of public service.