The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into spending irregularities on a county debit card by DeKalb County commissioners and their staff members. The Feds have already interviewed several people related to the matter, the media reports.
“If the FBI is a part of this and they feel like there’s something to look into, they must do that, and I embrace that,” Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May said.
May says the FBI has spoken to him regarding county purchasing card policies and usage, but declined to say more, citing that the investigation is not complete. Investigators spent two months examining the commissioners’ purchasing card records to uncover questionable, if not illegal, spending as well as shoddy record keeping, WSB-TV reports.
The federal investigation stems from May’s own examination which uncovered the following:
- May found tens of thousands of dollars spent at retail stores without proper paperwork;
- Of the few receipts the commissioners did turn over, it was noted dozens of gift cards bought, with no documentation of who they were for.
- There were also many purchases of expensive electronics and accessories which are not inventoried by the county.
“Let’s get everything on the table let’s deal with it so we can move on,” said May. “I’m sick and tired of the rumors the innuendos, the ethical allegations. We need to get to the bottom of this and we need to do it now. If the FBI is going to come in and help us resolve this, let it be so.”
This is going on while the eastern Atlanta suburban county deals with spiraling levels of violent crime.
DeKalb County policy requires commissioners to keep an inventory of receipts for purchases, which have not been done.
According to reports, Commissioners Elaine Boyer and Sharon Barnes Sutton and their aides have spent a combined $30,000 at stores like Target, Walmart, Office Depot and Best Buy, without keeping the receipts. The FBI should be able to subpoena store records and find out what they bought.
“If there’s nothing there they’ll decide it, if they feel like there is something there then we move forward and address it accordingly,” said May to Channel 2 News.
“Hey, us as taxpayers we need to know where that money went,” said DeKalb taxpayer Joe Gargiulo, “I still would like to know it bought a computer, or it bought a desk, or a calculator whatever, or I took that travel trip that was so important to DeKalb County, to Tahiti.”
Commissioner Sutton said the gift cards are given as rewards to event volunteers. However, out of the 27 gift cards purchased by her aide, only one contained documentation, the report states.
Several staffers also reportedly used the purchasing cards to buy thousands of dollars in prizes given away at a county employee appreciation picnic, but again no one kept records.
“It upsets me, in business you always keep receipts,” said Gargiulo, “I guess when you’re spending other people’s money you don’t need to keep receipts.”