Watchdog calls for former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to reimburse the taxpayers for unconstitutional gifts:
As you may have heard, former mayor Atlanta Kasim Reed in the last few weeks of his term gave substantial bonuses and gifts to favored city employees and winners of contests such as lip sync and the like. It was to the tune of $518,000.
The bonuses were illegal because, as City Council President and Ethics Champion Felicia Moore described to WSBTV and the AJC, “a city ordinance that prohibits increasing ‘the salaries or other remuneration in any form of any officer or employee of the city during the fiscal year, except by ordinance’ (must be) approved by the City Council.”
Besides the bonuses, gifts in the form of cash were given at the Mayor’s executive holiday party AT CITY HALL. As reported by the Cox duo, King Kasim “gave away $36,000 by drawing names out of a hat during a holiday party raffle in December; and awarded $31,000 to lip sync and ugly sweater contest winners, also at the party.”
To me this not only likely violates city ordinances, but the Constitution of the State of Georgia as well. According to the Georgia Attorney General’s website “The Gratuities Clause of the Georgia Constitution provides that “the General Assembly shall not have the power to grant any donation or gratuity. While this clause specifically addresses gratuities conferred by the General Assembly, it also applies to cities and counties… A gratuity is defined as “something given freely or without recompense; a gift.”
Wouldn’t cash for raffles and ugly sweater contests apply to the gratuity clause as well?
So given that Kasim violated at least one city ordinance and the Georgia Constitution, I think he needs to stroke a check and reimburse the taxpayers!
And why not? He can afford it!
Why do I think that? Because I was not among those surprised that he did not run for higher office in the 2018 elections. In the beginning of his second term as mayor, I sat back and listened to his future plans when answering questions after a speech he gave at the Atlanta Press Club. He essentially said that after serving as mayor he would step into the private sector for a few years and make some money before running for office again a few years down the road. I imagine that he instantly became a millionaire after leaving office by raking in huge retainer checks from all the contractors he enriched during his two terms as Atlanta mayor.
So step on up Kasim, stroke a check and give the taxpayers their money back!