Atlanta residents are questioning how the city can’t afford to re-pave more roads, improve blight, or address a skyrocketing homeless rate and yet the Mayor can spend $12,000 in less than 5 months on limo rides, and a local Judge can pay $2500 for a few hundred party invitations–all at taxpayer expense.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution and WSB-TV have been all over both stories: Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms, who took office in January, has spent $12,000 on 27 limousine trips with one company over a period of less than 5 months.
The average bill was $431 per ride.
One ride alone in April at a Super Bowl event in Minneapolis cost $3,900, which the city claims could be an error.
A spokesperson for the Mayor has suggested, however, that the pricey rides were considered the best option for the Mayor’s safety.
And a local judge, Terrinee Gundy, who already is under investigation for allegedly skipping court so she could attend an Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl pep rally last year, is also facing criticism over several expenditures that have watchdog groups livid: three “flame of excellence” sculptures made of glass that cost a combined $1,800; engraved envelopes and other stationery at a cost of $4,156; and $870 in beverage napkins for an after-party for former Mayor Kasim Reed’s annual Masked Ball.
Reed himself has faced criticism over his own expenditures, and although he left office in January, city hall is still facing a federal bribery investigation related to alleged misdoings by city officials that occurred under his watch.
Reed appointed Judge Gundy to the bench in 2013; the former mayor also strongly supported Bottoms’ candidacy last year.
The City Council is also facing criticism for failing to rein in the out-of-control spending.
Bottoms promised a “new day” was dawning when she took office. But many voters say it’s just business as usual.