Former Gwinnett County comissioner's expenses investigated

6:04 PM, Mar 20, 2013   |    comments
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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The District Attorney is investigating the expense reports of former Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau.

Beaudrea served two terms, but lost his re-election bid in the last election. 

According to records obtained by 11Alive News, Beaudreau spent $22,797 over his eight years in office.   That is more than all of his fellow eight commissioners spent combined.

District Attorney Danny Porter said his office is now comparing Beaudreau's submitted expenses to calendars and witness statements to determine if he was in fact on county business.

"We are not judging what are valid expenses are valid or invalid. We're determining whether he was on county business at the time of the incurred expense," Porter said.

If it turns out he was not doing work on behalf of the county, Porter said it constitutes a criminal offense akin to perjury or lying under oath.

Among the questioned expenses:

In December 2007, Beaudrea asked to be reimbursed for mileage after attending two Christmas parties within a week.

In 2009, he charged taxpayers for the drive to see the Gwinnett County Braves, twice in the same season.

Many of the meal receipts Beaudreau turn in failed to note who he ate with or what county business was discussed.

In 2009, he charged mileage to attend something labeled "Brookwood Concert"

In 2010, he expensed 68 miles of travel to go to the funeral of fellow commissioner Bert Nasuti's father.

The investigation doesn't surprise Gwinnett County resident Joe Newton.  He filed an ethics complaint against Beaudreau last summer, but by law you can't hold an ethics hearing within six months of a general election.

He is happy to see that finally his concerns are being looked into.

"This is taxpayer money.  I can understand he'd make a mistake every now and then,  but there's an overall pattern of misuse and abuse of public money," said Newton.

Porter notes that the county ultimately approved all of Beaudreau's expense reports and reimbursed him.

If Porter were to find grounds to pursue a criminal charge, he would present the information to a grand jury.

The charge would be a felony along the lines of perjury with a possible maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

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