Atlanta taxpayers footed the majority of a five-course dinner costing more than $12,000 enjoyed by outgoing Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed and his executive staff at one of the city's most expensive steakhouses, according to a new report.
Shortly before leaving office in January, Reed attended a holiday banquet on Dec. 18, 2017, at the American Cut steakhouse in Buckhead, the upscale northern district of the city. The bill from the steakhouse called it a "Holiday Dinner for Mayor's Cabinet" for 40 guests, and the bill came to just under $12,500, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Former Atlanta Chief Financial Officer Jim Beard used his city-issued credit card to pay off $8,100 on the taxpayer's dime, and he paid the balance with his personal credit card, according to the AJC. The report noted that city-issued credit cards are supposed to be used "for business purposes only."
Beard told the AJC the event was an "off-site cabinet meeting" and noted no spouses were in attendance:
The dinner was held two weeks before Reed left office and came amid a flurry of year-end spending. The AJC has previously reported that Atlanta's former mayor handed out bonuses costing more than $811,000 to his senior staff, including most of the people attending the Buckhead banquet.
Reed's holiday spending included $36,000 in raffle prizes for City Hall employees and another $31,000 for winners of lip sync and ugly sweater contests.
Reed's spokesman released a statement calling the story a "continuation of an effort to smear and ignore the positive contributions of the Reed administration over the last eight years."
The AJC noted Reed had earlier that day appeared in front of the press to address the massive power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and why he was at first silent about the fiasco.
This is the latest example of Reed falling under scrutiny from the AJC for questionable spending practices. He gave out more than $500,000 in bonuses to city employees in his last days in office—including $36,000 by drawing names from a hat during a holiday raffle—all at taxpayers' expense. Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore said the practice was "disgusting" and "illegal."
Hillary Clinton's staff put Reed on a long list of names as a potential running mate in 2016, and he was a strong booster and spokesman for her candidacy.