Amid Allegations That She Mismanaged Taxpayer Funds, Fani Willis Requests $600K for New Cars

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis (Getty Images)
January 25, 2024

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis wants to treat her staff to brand new, taxpayer-funded cars as she rides out allegations that she misappropriated county funds to enrich her lover.

Willis on Wednesday requested $611,000 from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to purchase up to 16 "pursuit and special service vehicles" for law enforcement and "administrative" purposes. The board voted overwhelmingly to table the request after several commissioners noted Willis provided no justification for the proposed purchase order.

The board says it will take up the request after Willis addresses allegations of her affair with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. Wade, a married man Willis appointed in November 2021 to lead her election meddling case against former president Donald Trump, has earned at least $654,000 in legal fees from Willis’s office—funds he then used to finance several vacations for the pair.

"I don’t know why she’s requesting vehicles now," commissioner Bridget Thorne said during Wednesday’s meeting. "I met with the district attorney’s office in December. She said that she had requested $5 million in enhancements last year, but she only needed $4 million because she had already purchased vehicles."

"In light of all the recent allegations of her department, I don’t want to approve any money until those allegations have been addressed," Thorne added. "She’s been asked to comment on them. She has not. It is our fiduciary responsibility to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely."

Willis sought to purchase several 2023 Ford SUVs, as well as two 2023 model pursuit vehicles, from a Ford dealer in the Atlanta metropolitan area, according to a document reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The commission voted 6-1 to hold the request until the county audit committee concludes its investigation into Willis’s office.

The move comes as allegations of Willis’s impropriety threaten to upend her racketeering case against Trump. A Georgia judge ordered Willis to respond to the allegations in court by next Friday. The district attorney has not directly addressed the allegations but claimed during a Jan. 14 church sermon that she and her alleged paramour are being unfairly targeted because they are black. Without naming him, Willis called Wade a "superstar" lawyer and a "great friend."

The chairman of the Fulton County audit committee, commissioner Bob Ellis, told the Free Beacon on Thursday that there's been "radio silence" from Willis ever since he sent a letter on Jan. 19 demanding she come clean about her potential misuse of taxpayer funds. Willis, who promised before her 2020 election she wouldn’t sleep with her staffers, has until next Friday to respond to Ellis.

Ellis was also mystified over Willis’s request to purchase a new fleet of vehicles, noting that this isn’t the first time the prosecutor has sought to expand her office’s automobile fleet. Willis’s office doled out nearly $794,000 to two car dealers in 2023, county spending records show.

"I think she’s got a pretty substantive fleet right now," Ellis said. "Last year there was a significant budgetary add that was provided for her last year that was approved by four commissioners last year which gave her a lot more vehicles at that point in time. So really, the question is, why? Why more now?"

The Fulton County Commission also rejected on Wednesday a last-minute request to boost Willis’s budget by $9.7 million, which included funds to hire 10 attorneys and 7 investigators, as well as $4.4 million in "operational funds."

Thorne, one of the seven Fulton County commissioners, said in a Facebook post on Monday she was "simply shocked" that Willis moved to boost her budget as she’s beset by news of her alleged financial malfeasance.