Georgia Tech spent $1M+ in taxpayer money on ‘morale' events

ATLANTA - An investigation by Channel 2 Action News found that the Georgia Tech Research Institute spent more than a million tax dollars over the past two years on entertainment and meals for employees and their families.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Richard Belcher says the university stands by the spending for what it calls "morale."

GTRI is a widely respected facility that does world class research, much of its highly classified for the defense department.

Largely off the radar is that it spends half-a-million dollars annually to boost employee morale, and all of it is tax money.

The director of GTRI tried to get away from our cameras when we questioned him about the money.

“Hey, this is off record, off-camera. I'm not talking to you. Away. Away,” Dr. Andrew Gerber told Belcher and his photographer.

The missile defense expert makes more than $400,000 annually in his position.

After a tip from a whistleblower, we used the state open records law to get the details of the spending on employee morale events, that included trips to Top Golf, Six Flags, the Aquarium and much more.

“Does your television station have any events for its employee,” Gerber asked Belcher.

“Well, we’re not supported by tax money. You are,” Belcher responded.

"Right," Gerber said.

A breakdown of where the money was spent, reaction from government waste experts and our confrontation with the man behind it all, Monday on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News