Bristol, VA (WJHL) – A man whose whistleblower complaints led to the federal investigation of a Tri-Cities utility company is back on the board of directors. And Tuesday, he made a bold call for other current board members to resign.
Doug Fleenor was voted off the Bristol Virginia Utilities Board earlier this year, but Tuesday, the Bristol, Virginia City Council voted Fleenor back on the board.
It’s the latest twist in a corruption investigation that took out top management at BVU. The former CEO of BVU, Wes Rosenbaum, was one of five people who pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to a scheme in exchange for business deals.
Earlier this month, the Bristol, Virginia, City Council appointed Frank Goodpasture to the board instead of Fleenor. But a Community Watchdog report revealed Goodpasture’s company has business ties with BVU. He later announced he wouldn’t join the board.
Tuesday, things came full circle.
“BVU needs to return to what its essential job is, providing services,” Fleenor said.
At Tuesday night’s Bristol, Virginia, City Council meeting two people, including the man who reported concerns about BVU to the authorities, prompting a public corruption investigation of the utility, were nominated to fill a vacancy on the Bristol Virginia Utilities Board.
“I am angry,” Fleenor said, “because this shouldn’t have even come to a vote.” The vote was three to two.
“Realistically, the people that care about the City voted me back,” Fleenor told News Channel 11.
Bristol, Virginia, Mayor Archie Hubbard was Fleenor’s key vote. Hubbard said, “this time we’ve had more input from the public, I would say. It convinced the other vote to change.”
Just minutes after being reinstated, Fleenor said, “I would call out for every board member, that has been there four or five years, to resign.”
Earlier Tuesday, Faith Esposito, the boards’ only chairwoman, did just that.
Hubbard said, “we wanted to get as many new members as fast as we can on the board, because of the public confidence in the current (board).” He added, “we can’t solve all these problems over night.”
“New board, or no new board, things have to change the way BVU’s been operated,” Fleenor said.
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