HomeNewsAugusta Mayor’s Credit Card Bills Continue to Shock

Augusta Mayor’s Credit Card Bills Continue to Shock

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Amidst media pressure to provide receipts and calls from commissioners for a forensic audit, Mayor Hardie Davis has ramped up his credit card spending over the first four months of this year.

Davis has continued to spend tens of thousands of dollars on his city-issued credit card so far in 2021, far more than in previous years.

MORE: Augusta Commission Authorizes Credit Card Policy Study

One charge that sticks out is $4,500 paid to Atlanta Premiere Productions, which specializes in sound systems. Company spokesman Chibale Wiggins said his company has never done work with the city of Augusta.

“We recently installed a church in Augusta, but we haven’t worked with the city of Augusta,” Wiggins said, although he claimed that he did not remember the name of the church or why his company charged the city any money.

Wiggins promised to look into the matter, but multiple follow-up calls have not been returned.

The mayor’s office has not provided any receipts to explain the need for sound equipment.

By far the biggest bills come from a company called LC Studios out of Florida. So far this year, the mayor has spent $16,219 on video production services. The charges did not go through standard city procurement procedures, which require any charges over $5,000 to be sent out for competitive bids.

The mayor’s chief of staff, Petula Burks, has prior relationships with the owners of LC Studios. LC Studios’ owner Cameus Chicoye is listed as an assistant vice president for a business Burks started while in Florida.

In a recent interview with WRDW, Davis states that Burks’ hiring the firm she established was not a conflict of interest.

During the interview Davis stated, “Let me be clear. We did not use a vendor who has ties to my chief of staff. That’s number one, and two, I think it’s extremely important that we articulate this properly. There was no conflict of interest. We looked at a host of people who could do business with us on a video photography standpoint. There was a quality of product that I was looking for, and they were able to meet that, but, again, characterize this as tied to my chief of staff? That is an inappropriate characterization and quite frankly inappropriate.”

Emails obtained via a freedom of information request show dozens of messages between Burks and LC Studios during her time in Florida.

The largest PayPal expenditure, $5,000, was paid to Reed For Hope, a non-profit started by Hollywood casting director Robi Reed. The non-profit’s stated mission is health and wellness, and one of its major partners is Planned Parenthood.

During the interview with WRDW, the mayor said the money paid to Reed For Hope was the speaker fees for a Reed For Hope ambassador to appear on Davis’ Move With The Mayor video.

The video, despite its Hollywood connections and price tag, has less than 500 views on Facebook.

The ambassador who spoke in the video was Eva Marcille, a model who has made minor appearances on several television programs and who owns a line of CBD-infused beauty products. Marcille is also married to Michael Sterling, a politician who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Atlanta in 2017.

Taxpayers also foot the bill for Eva Marcille’s transportation from Atlanta to Augusta in the amount of $997.55.

Invoice obtained via open records request.

Davis made his disdain for the local media clear in the WRDW video, offhandedly referring to The Augusta Press as a “trashy local blog.” However, he has used city money to pay for two subscriptions to The Augusta Press, one for himself and one for Burks.

Davis’ credit card statements show that he also uses public money to pay for subscriptions to The Augusta Chronicle, The Atlanta Journal And Constitution, The Wall Street Journal and The Business Journal, among others. Davis also uses public money to pay for his Amazon Prime streaming service.

Other charges continue to show the mayor’s card being used at Bed Bath and Beyond, JoAnne’s, Ross Dress-For-Less, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

MORE: Augusta Mayor’s City Credit Card Spending has Little Oversight

Records also show that Davis’ card continues to be used at fast food restaurants. Davis has tried to downplay those charges by stating that he was just giving “volunteers” a free lunch. However, receipts seem to tell a different story.

One particular dine-in receipt from Wendy’s identifies Maria Cook as the diner. Maria Cook is Davis’ program manager. Two other receipts shows the mayor’s staff ordered lunch for two from Red Lobster. One of those meals was delivered to the mayor’s office and the other picked up.

Scott Hudson is the Editorial Page Editor of The Augusta Press. Reach him at scott@theaugustapress.com.

18 COMMENTS

  1. If any one of us used a “company” credit card as Mayor Hardie is using the City of Augusta’s, we would be arrested and charged. How are he and others above the law? We, as taxpayers and payers of their salaries, need to demand explanation and possible reparation to the city of Augusta.

  2. The only thing Hardy Davis needs to” Let me be clear about” ,is to explain why a so called preacher/ mayor of the city of Augusta Is using tax payer money to buy Jose Cuervo alcohol for either himself or others. Is that what a preacher does? And pertaining to the his body language and posture during his Wife Liz Owens interview, should tell it all . Now let me be clear.The taxpayers funded makeup didn’t cover up the liar liar pants on fire on his forehead on that interview with With Liz Owens. And anybody with an IQ over 2 should have been able to see his scripted and practiced response to Liz Owen’s questions .And if you are gonna buy alcohol using tax payer a money, at least buy American brands of alcohol.And I wonder if the taxpayers had to pay the individual or the organization to help you prepare for the interview responses.I’m sure you won’t provide those receipts either.And when it comes to your comments about your census volunteers, I was asked to serve on the census committee by commissioner John Clarke. I attended my first and only meeting. When I attended ,it became apparently clear that you were you using city property and funds to promote Stacey Abrams AGENDA. You brought 2 ladies into the room and introduced them yourself.It wasn’t about compiling census data for the government, it was all about registering only more Democratic voters for the upcoming elections using your office and taxpayers funds also .Isn’t that also illegal Mayor/so called preacher?

  3. I hope and pray the The Trashy Local Blog will uncover every lie that this Crook has told. I hope that GOD will reveal what darkness has attempted to cover. To my everlasting sorrow, I encouraged my son to vote for Hardy Davis in the mayoral election. Thank you all who work at TAP to keep Davis’ feet to the fire.

  4. How is it possible that Davis’ actions don’t break the law…if not at the local level at least the State level? Let’s stop talking about how outrageous this is and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! Surely someone who knows the law can file charges against him? Who will step up?

  5. He subscribes to The Chronicle? I wonder if they deliver his actual paper…they miss mine 90% of the time. To send all of this production work OUT of Augusta is shameful. ONE AUGUSTA…my fanny. All this talk from some in the Marble Palace about making special considerations for minority/local vendors in the procurement process…ask Hardie why HE chooses not to use Augusta’s large pool of talent?

  6. Unfortunately for the RC taxpayers, it appears that the mayor’s office has free use of the credit card for expensive lunches each day. How would you like for your lunch each day to be at another’s expense ??

  7. Where are all the bids from all our local very qualified businesses and video production companies that mayor Davis claimed awhile back he was using local only, that clearly his credit card statements proves he uses outside businesses boosting our city image and himself.If he is promoting Augusta. He should use Augusta local owned Businesses to help out our own City and Community . Not himself and his friends and cronies .Where are the bids from our local businesses for his all production and studios , pictures ,videos, ECT.?Where is the oversight?Anyone?

  8. I heard his interview on television. Does he actually believe what he was saying? Either he is stupid or he thinks that we are stupid. Neither is acceptable. Come on – where are the criminal charges? Let him defend his actions in front of a judge. And, what will become of his “internal audit?” We know that any reputable accounting firm (and the one being used is reputable to my knowledge) will find gross negligence in the finance oversight. Will anyone actually be held accountable? We shall see.

  9. Hopefully, this scandal will reveal additional layers of greed and corruption. However, I will not be surprised if Mayor Davis seeks a higher political office and wins the election. Also, I am now a huge fan of our new trashy local blog.

  10. Do we have any attorneys in this town, that are not part of this corruption? No matter whether democratic or republican. This is just wrong. Unfair to hard working, tax paying, citizens of Augusta Richmond County.

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