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Atlanta Mayor Reed to reimburse South Africa trip with “outside” funds

Mayor Kasim Reed’s office will seek a non-governmental source to help pay thousands of dollars in airfare for a May trip the city’s top leader he and several of his staff took to South Africa to talk entrepreneurship, Atlanta’s entertainment business and urban development issues.

Airfare for the trip to Cape Town, which Reed called a “strategically important international partner for the city” prior to travel, cost almost $64,000 for the mayor, five city officials and two bodyguards, according to an investigation by Channel 2 Action News reporter Richard Belcher.

WSB-TV requested records about the Mayors trip on April 20, but received them nearly three months later despite the state's open records request law.

The city will seek about $41,000 in non-public funds to reimburse city coffers, Channel 2 said. The city did not specify from where those funds could come.

The city leaders traveled business class, which the mayor’s office said is allowed on international flights if approved by a commissioner or department chief.

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Reed’s office told Channel 2 that though it budgeted for the trip, it is seeking private support because of the expense of international travel.

“Mayor Reed anticipated outside financial support when he authorized business-class travel for trip participants,” the office said in a statement. “There was never an expectation that the full cost of business class airfare would be paid for with public funds.”

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