HomeOpinionAudit Blues and Movie 'Pynks' Continue to Plague Augusta Mayor, Commission

Audit Blues and Movie ‘Pynks’ Continue to Plague Augusta Mayor, Commission



When Augusta commissioners John Clarke and Catherine McKnight called for an in-depth forensic audit of the entire government, a majority of their colleagues said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ audit. It will make people think we do. And it will be an indictment of all of our hard-working employees.”

That’s not exactly what they said but an expurgated version of the 50,000 words they did say.
(Maybe it wasn’t 50,000 words. It just seemed like it.)

More from Sylvia Cooper: Mayor Should Apologize

Commissioner Dennis Williams put it this way:

“Why should there be a forensic audit where there has not been anything done wrong? The idea of a forensic audit gives the general perception somebody is doing something wrong. And the public will believe it.”

Williams was quoted earlier as saying a forensic audit would put a dark cloud over local government.

So, he doesn’t see the dark cloud that moved in after The Augusta Press had to hire a lawyer to force Mayor Hardie Davis to come up with some receipts to show what he’s been buying with your money?

And not a word of censure from anyone but Clarke and McKnight because, well, as Commissioner Ben Hasan said in his lecture to commissioners Thursday about not “adjudicating” issues in the media, “God only knows who’s going to end up next.”

Isn’t that the crux of the matter, after all? Who’s going to end up next?

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And Williams doesn’t think the way the city circumvented the Open Records Law in a secretive process to select the least qualified new fire chief, aided and abetted by their high-dollar lying administrator, Odie Donald, has put a dark cloud over local government?

And he doesn’t think withholding the resumes and forcing The Augusta Press to take the city to court to gain access to resumes of recommended finalists has put a dark cloud over local government?

And he doesn’t think that charging The Augusta Press hundreds of dollars for “free” information and dragging the responses out as long as possible has put a dark cloud over the government?

Williams said Thursday, “Show me something that was done wrong.”

OK, I’ll do it. I’ll send him a few of the recent Augusta Press articles on the subject. Maybe he can get somebody to read them to him.

Ah yes! He’ll make a fine mayor. Just what the city needs to keep the dark clouds over local government away.

They Weren’t Surprised. Just Disappointed.

After Thursday’s meeting, Clarke said he was bombarded with phone calls from constituents telling him not to stop speaking his mind.

“They say it’s obvious they don’t want those finances looked at,” Clarke said. “The public is more wise than the commissioners are. I was not surprised the vote went the way it did, and they acted the way they did. I was disappointed that seven of our colleagues would not seek the truth in the financial spending but had rather turn it by saying we were accusing our employees of wrongdoing when that was not the case at all.”

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McKnight said she wants the citizens of Augusta to know that she and two other commissioners fought to do a forensic audit on not just the mayor’s office, but all departments.

“I wasn’t surprised at all about how it was going to turn out,” she said. “But a 7-3 vote is disappointing. My colleagues were talking about how much it would cost to do an audit. The taxpayers want an audit, and that is who I work for – the people.”

They Truly Do Not Believe in Open Government. Hell, They Don’t Even Know What it Is

A majority of commissioners believe if you say everything’s fine loud enough and long enough, it will be, despite the fact it appears Davis has illegally donated taxpayers’ money to partisan political causes and spent more in single puzzling PayPal payments than the law allows, and the new fire chief doesn’t seem to be qualified for the job. And they seem determined to give away money to anybody and everybody that wants it, except Gold Cross EMS. They want to run that successful company out of town and set up their own ambulance service in the fire department like they tried to do recently and failed. Of course, nobody knows how many millions the city lost on that little endeavor because there’s been no accounting.

Taxpayers Won’t Even Feel the Bee Sting

Speaking of giving away money, city officials are talking about paying people to take COVID-19 shots to increase Augusta’s 29 percent vaccination rate.

Hasan proposed taking $100,000 of American Rescue Plan money and holding weekly drawings of names of people who got vaccinated. They could hold 20 drawings and give the winners $5,000 a piece. City Administrator Donald said he was looking into the possibility of paying $200 to those who take two shots or one shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

That’s pretty neat. Get free shots and $200 to boot. Those who had the shots earlier might have grounds to sue if they don’t get $200. That’s the real definition of a protected class.

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Curioser and Curioser

A recent article in The Augusta Press revealed even more strange payments and purchases by the mayor’s office.

For example, the mayor receives a monthly gasoline allowance for his city SUV, but his credit card shows monthly spending at gas stations in Augusta and North Augusta. No receipts for the charges have been made available to the public.

One of the reasons for giving an employee a gasoline allowance is to cover the expenses of driving a personal vehicle on city business. Why then would you give them a government vehicle and pay for the gasoline, too?

Is the mayor double dipping at the gas pumps?

Even more questionable is that in December, the city of Augusta paid, through the mayor’s credit card, $517 to fly actress Brandee Evansfrom Los Angeles to Atlanta, according to the newspaper article.

Evans is known for her role in the Starz drama “P-Valley,” a series about strip dancers at a Mississippi Delta club called “The Pynk.”

The mayor brought Evans to Augusta to lecture in his “Move With The Mayor: Women and Girls Edition.”

So, Augusta Mayor and the Rev. Hardie Davis paid taxpayers’ money to fly an actress who played a stripper across state lines to teach Augusta women and girls how to move.

According to the September issue of “Dance Magazine,” Evans’ character is the star pole dancer at a Southern strip club who longs to retire and launch her own dance studio for teenage girls.

That’s even richer than a stripper working her way through college.

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“Not everyone in town thinks that’s an appropriate second act for a dancer who performs in Rhinestone thongs,” the Dance Magazine article goes on to say. “(As you might guess, the “P” in “P Valley” is a slang term for female anatomy; the show might not be appropriate for younger viewers.)”

No shootin’, Sherlock.

As The Augusta Press previously reported, the mayor paid $995 to have model Eva Marcille driven from Atlanta to Augusta in luxury and $5,000 to appear in a video which he said was a donation to a non-profit called “Reed for Hope,” an organization closely aligned with Planned Parenthood.

I think Davis needs a refund from his political advisers. Anybody who would allow their client to bring an actress who plays the star pole dancer in a TV series called “P Valley,” to Augusta, Ga., to teach young girls how to move is not up to snuff. Maybe they’d snorted all their snuff. Or something.

More from Sylvia Cooper: Mayor Denounces ‘Trashy Blog’ Questions about His Spending

Also previously reported was a $4,500 payment to Atlanta Premier Production to produce a video featuring jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips. Again, no records have emerged to show how much the musician was paid for his performance during the “Mayor’s Masters Experience.”

Some people might question why a local preacher would be paying to hang out with a model, an actress who plays a stripper and jazz performers, but I have a theory that might explain the $500 or so he spent on makeup.

He thinks he’s in Hollywood.

Sylvia Cooper is a Columnist with The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected].

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  1. Amazing the dark clouds over Augusta’s leadership. Wow would we be in total darkness without TAP … and hopefully you erred stating Augusta only has a 29% vaccination rate. What the hell is wrong with these people ???

  2. Once again Sylvia Cooper, you are spot on. Taxpayers need to demand a forensic audit ASAP. Williams needs to open his eyes, there is wrong doing as to spending, lack of receipts, zero transparency and hiring practices (unqualified fire chief). Hasan doesn’t need to chastise anyone about speaking to media, I hope Clarke and McKight continue to voice displeasure with current policies. The spat with Gold Cross is not going to go away until Sias and his group get what they want –

    • Control of the ambulance service under the Augusta Fire department, which they seem to feel will be a real money maker. Lord help the taxpayers. As to paying citizens to take the vaccine, the money could be better spent, but then several commissioners have shown themselves to be poor stewards of the city coffers.

  3. I say put in a FOIA request for ALL spending by ALL commissioners – with proper receipts. Then, when there is an obvious lack of information (remember Sammy Sias?) then make the cade in public for obvious wrongdoing and demand that the commissioners either resign or authorize the full audit. Shine that light brighter until something happens.

  4. Davis needs to go!!!He seems to think he is a celebrity rock star!There is no telling what we don’t know about his spending.All I see is waste and arrogance!And I can tell you he will never win another political race again as most all of us have got his number!!He really needs to go back to preaching and stay there!

  5. Great article!! This makes my blood boil and to think I work in the courthouse but we can’t get any justice. If the mayor were white I bet an audit would have already been done. Keep up the good work TAP !!

  6. Democrat voters have the dubiously admirable ability to overlook criminal activities and unethical behavior by Democrat candidates and elected officials and vote to get and keep them in office. Ted Kennedy (Chappaquiddick), Bill Clinton (Monica, perjury, multiple rape charges), Hillary Clinton (Filegate, the DNC dossier), Obama, Biden (Burisma, coverup of Hunter’s illegal firearm ownership), Chuck Schumer, Ed McIntyre (bribery), Charles Walker (fraud), Hardie Davis, most of the commissioners, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Had Nixon been a Democrat, he would have successfully lied and obfuscated his way through Watergate and served out his term. Republicans eat there own at the first sniff of trouble. They maintain the high moral ground, but lose the office. Trump lost his re-election partly because some of his base could not overlook his personal shortcomings and focus on his ideology, agenda, and the associated results. Hopefully, Republican voters and conservative independents will focus on the future of our country (not their emotions, skin color, gender, religion, and media propaganda) and vote the Democrats out of Congress in 2022 and send Biden to an assisted living facility in 2024.

  7. Sylvia great article.
    What has this city come to?
    A “mayor” who pays to have pole dancer teach women, $5000.00 to drive an actress to Augusta for what? A crooked double dipping preacher Mayor. Is this what our city deserves, I think not.
    Thank goodness Hardie has reached his term limit.

  8. As I have said before, NOTHING is going to change until something negatively impacts “The Power Families”, living on Walton Way, The Hill, Park Place, and the like. They live on their island. Their lawyers fight their annual property assessments, so their outlay is manageable. If they need an ambulance, they will call Gold Cross direct. Trust a high-tech ARC Fire Dept. ambulance that like high-tech fire engines that break down a lot ?? — NEVER. As long as the island is intact, they are happy. BTW: it is “Sean” not “Sam”. I’m afraid Sean has joined the other side — Sadly…

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