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 an April 5 lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Tracy Woodard, a former business manager for the Atlanta Police Department, said she was let go in April, just two months after discovering that funds dedicated to buying patrol cars for Atlanta Police were allegedly being diverted to pay for cars 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. The lawsuit did not say how the drug seizure money is supposed to be spent.
In a statement on Thursday, Reed’s office said: “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.”
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 been accused of any wrongdoing.
Reed has not been implicated in the probe and has said he has not been interviewed by federal authorities.
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 then Atlanta Police Chief George Turner and current chief Erika Shields, who was a deputy chief at the time.
The lawsuit said that Woodard later discovered that Atlanta Police were “driving and escorting Mayor Reed and his family on personal errand,” which is not official business.
Woodard said she was later told her position was being terminated and received a separation notice that her position was being eliminated.