I-TEAM: How is Augusta mayor spending your tax dollars?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Serious questions being pointed at Mayor Hardie Davis and how he and other elected officials are spending your tax dollars. The I-Team has been looking into financial records for credit cards for more than a month now and today it came under the microscope for city leaders.
Twenty years and zero. Two numbers you need to keep in mind here. Twenty years is how long elected officials have had access to credit cards in Augusta and there have been zero audits to make sure they are being used responsibly. Zero.
In 2016, Georgia lawmakers passed a law that said “Purchasing cards may not be issued to elected officials after January 1, 2016, unless a local government creates a policy governing their use.”
Commissioners Brandon Garrett and Ben Hasan asked Tuesday why there is no policy for Davis and other elected officials using credit cards five years later.
“Blows me away there is no policy that at least helps us have some accountability measures,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
Receipts are important here because today we learned while receipts are requested for Mayor Davis they are not required. So how much money are we talking here?
The I-Team found Davis charged $32,000 to his credit cards last year. We tabulated $2,000 spent on dining out for lunch and dinner around Augusta. More than $700 on makeup. $300 for a plaque for him to have after he was named an influential mayor. Another $139 on a limo for him to arrive at a Mayor’s Banquet in D.C.
We found a minimum of $10,000 charged through PayPal sent to individuals and businesses. Another $15,000 charged to a production company out of Florida.
“You know when you have cash apps such as PayPal or Square attached to a government credit card it kinda raises some concerns. Especially on the statements where you can see they’ve paid specific individuals through a government credit card where those individuals probably should have been paid through a check,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett, District 8. “The fact that there was not a county policy that oversees the credit card usage is also very concerning.”
Today the committee asked the administrator to come back next week with a policy to hold elected officials accountable for charges on the credit cards. There is already an existing policy for government employees in Augusta just not elected officials which is what goes against state law.
As for Davis, he left the meeting and was not there during this discussion Tuesday.
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