State senator calls for East Point investigation

8:01 AM, Jul 18, 2013   |    comments
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EAST POINT, Ga. -- More than two weeks after East Point City Council members formally heard the findings of a forensic audit, city officials are still trying to find out what happened to years worth of missing financial documents.

Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Earnestine Pittman told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander that she believes the reports findings go beyond bad bookkeeping to criminal activity. An auditor found nearly $200 million worth of city purchases from 2000 to 2012 were made without purchase orders. The audit also revealed missing or destroyed financial records and violations of vendor protocol.

"What happened here in East Point did not happen in the dark," the mayor said. "There is no way any council member should have fought as hard as some of those members that we have on council to keep information from other elected officials if it were not criminal."

Speaking with 11Alive by phone Wednesday, councilman Lance Rhodes said he didn't believe there was anything "intentionally improper or illegal," but more of a policies and procedures error.

Councilwoman Jackie Slaughter-Gibbons has been adamant that council did nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, Senator Vincent Fort (D-39) said the forensic audit causes him to question the validity of past state audits. He is calling on the state auditor's office to investigate.

"I would receive a letter [from the state auditor's office] every time the city was out of compliance," Fort said. "It was year after year after year, by 2010 it was five or six years where the city was out of compliance, either submitting incomplete documents or not submitting documents at all."

"I'm concerned that the city may hot have gotten all the information to the state that was necessary," he said.

Fort also wants the state attorney general to investigate the allegation of missing or destroyed records, a state violation.

Mayor Pittman has called for three separate investigations into the financial report. She said she has met with the US attorney and FBI. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has said his office is investigating.

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