Former Mayor Kasim Reed caught flak from many sides last year when it was revealed that the city spent $90,000 on his team’s trip to South Africa, largely on business-class airfare.
At the time, the mayor said he had lined up “private funds” to pay for nine team members’ upgrades from coach class on the grueling 17-hour haul.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today, he’s made good on that promise, although by arguably questionable means.
The newspaper reports that before leaving office Mr. Reed deferred a pay increase approved by the City Council, opting to donate some $77,000 to three area charities.
A $40,000 donation was sent to Partners for Prosperity, a nonprofit set up by Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm. That organization on March 5 donated the same amount back to the city apparently to cover the cost of the South Africa trip, which Mr. Reed described as an economic development mission, the AJC reported.
Mr. Reed’s spokesman told the newspaper that since the the money was gleaned from the former mayor’s approved salary increase, it wasn’t taxpayer money.
But according to the article, the $40,000 returned to the city after an April 2 approval vote at Partners for Prosperit, raised questions about whether it’s appropriate for the city to distribute funds to outside charities:
The maneuver was an apparent attempt by Reed to fulfill a promise he made to have private donations reimburse taxpayers for the difference between business-class airfare and the amount that would have been spent on tickets in coach. The transaction raises questions about the appropriateness of the expenditure and the transparency with which it occurred.
See the full story at MyAJC.com (paywall).