Former APD worker claims city bought cars for Mayor Reed’s personal use

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Former APD worker claims city bought cars for Mayor Reed’s personal use

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Leon Stafford
A lawsuit by a former Atlanta Police Department worker claims the city improperly used funds to buy cars for the personal use of Mayor Kasim Reed and his family.

Update: The city released this statement on Thursday: 

“There is zero evidence to support the claims made in this lawsuit. The City of Atlanta will vigorously defend itself against these unsubstantiated allegations. The plaintiff was terminated more than a year ago for performance issues. The plaintiff and her attorneys seek to capitalize on baseless and sensationalized news stories published in the last several months. This claim is without merit and will not withstand judicial scrutiny.”

A former city worker has filed a lawsuit against the city accusing Mayor Kasim Reed of buying his city vehicles with federal funds set aside for police cars.

Story: A former city of Atlanta worker says she was fired from her job last year after blowing the whistle on the alleged misuse of funds to buy cars for the personal use of Mayor Kasim Reed and his family.

In a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court April 5, Tracy Woodard, a former business manager for the Atlanta Police Department, said she was let go in April 2016, just two months after discovering that funds dedicated to buying patrol cars for Atlanta Police were allegedly being diverted to fund car purchases for Reed’s use.

Woodard also alleges in the filing that APD was misusing federal and state grants from drug seizures to pay overtime to officers in an “incentive” program during the holiday season.

Reed declined to comment on Wednesday during the unveiling of a program designed to help keep low-income residents in their homes in Vine City, English Avenue and other nearby Westside neighborhoods. Reed’s spokeswoman, Anne Torres, said the mayor’s office had not yet been served in the lawsuit.

The filing comes as City Hall is still reeling from a pay-to-play bribery scandal. Two contractors, Elvin "E.R." Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr., have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. 

Adam Smith, the city's chief procurement officer, was fired in late February, the same day federal agents seized items in his office. Smith has not be accused of any wrongdoing.

Woodard, who is seeking to get her job back plus back pay and attorneys fees, said she first discovered the alleged misuse of funds in February and reported them to former Atlanta Police Chief George Turner and current chief Erika Shields. 

She also discovered that Atlanta Police were allegedly “driving and escorting Mayor Reed and his family on personal errands,” the lawsuit said. 

Woodard said she was later told her position was being terminated and received a separation notice that her position was being eliminated. 

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