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I-TEAM: What’s next for Mayor Hardie Davis and his office?

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - New questions about what’s next for Mayor Hardie Davis and his office after we found he’s spent $70,000 in the last 18 months on the taxpayer credit card.

In an exclusive interview with the mayor last week the I-Team told you many of those credit card charges are missing receipts. Others break city and state law. Tonight Liz Owens asks who else may put his spending under the microscope.

When our I-Team’s Liz Owens confronted Mayor Davis about breaking Georgia law for the last five years he claimed ignorance. But is that enough to avoid a criminal investigation? It’s a question many of you have and one we are trying to answer.

Every use from a taxpayer’s standpoint has been legal and an allowable use and we will hold fast to that. But the charges Mayor Hardie Davis made on the taxpayers’ credit card could grab the attention of the state’s top investigators.

We reached out to the GBI to see if they would investigate what we reported. They pointed us to this specific section of their website which reads “Agents may exercise the power to arrest any person or persons for violation of any laws” but would need “A request for assistance” from possibly - district attorneys, sheriffs, superior court judges, chief law enforcement officers, or the governor.

We emailed Jared Williams the new district attorney for Augusta Richmond County about the mayor’s credit card use.

He responded in part, “For security and integrity reasons I do not discuss the operations of my office with non-law enforcement personnel. As such, questions like these will never elicit a comment from my office. Have a great weekend, and Happy Juneteenth!”

We also reached out to the attorney general’s office. They confirmed they watched our story – and are currently reviewing it before responding what steps their office could take. For his part Mayor Davis maintains his office exercised integrity with every purchase.

“What we will never do is improperly use taxpayer resources. I think we have a track record of it,” said Davis.

Some of his charges includes on the taxpayers’ credit card include $75.91 to overstock for a wardrobe valet, $114 for a magazine rack, and $302.00 for not one but two plaques for Davis when he was named “100 most influential Georgians.” And $500 to update his resume. We asked him about that.

“I serve on the board of trustees for the National League of Cities, Executive Committee Member for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and it’s not unusual to update your bio to support that I am the chief ambassador for the city of Augusta Georgia,” he said.

Other questionable spending that could come under investigation was revealed in our exclusive I-Team interview last week from credit card charges to non-profits to violating city policy with contracts.

As for starting a GBI investigation, you may remember the Augusta Commission voted in 2019 to ask the GBI to come in and investigate commissioner Sammie Sias for possible abuse of tax dollars and SPLOST funds tied to the Jamestown Community Center. The GBI tells us that investigation is remains ongoing and active.

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