City of Waynesboro leaders to determine whether Mayor’s spending, vehicle use should go to FBI

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – City of Waynesboro leaders plan to look into how Mayor Greg Carswell spent city dollars after recent complaints that he used those funds inappropriately.  NewsChannel 6 obtained a report from City Manager Jerry Coalson on the mayor’s travel expenses, credit card usage and vehicle usage. The report states Carswell’s travel expenses include a more than $2,000 trip to Philadelphia, PA to meet with a man about bringing a kids fun center to Waynesboro.  The report lists that Mayor Carswell met with Mr. Mark Legenstein, owner of Go ‘N Bananas Fun Center.  The report goes on to state the mayor’s itinerary lists a total of 10 hours at the place, but that was on a Thursday when the facility was closed and on a Saturday during peak business between July 12 – 17.  During that time, the report states Carswell can be seen online attending the annual 2017 Deliverance Evangelistic Association Fellowship Conference at Deliverance Evangelistic Church (DEC) in Philadelphia, which he’s attended in prior years.

In the report, Coalson stated:

I contacted Go ‘N Bananas Family Fun Center to speak to Mr. Mark Legenstein.  Mr. Legenstein verified that only one visit was made by the Mayor on July 13, 2017 while the facility was closed.[1]  He stated that the Mayor contacted him concerning a visit and tour.  He stated that he had plans for expansion; however, he had no plans at this time to consider locating a facility in Waynesboro or to visit Waynesboro.

[1] As part of my investigation, I emailed the Mayor requesting that he re-confirm the written trip itinerary he provided for the Philadelphia trip. The Mayor replied via email that he had visited the Family Fun Center in Lancaster, PA on only one occasion.

Mayor Carswell is also accused of using the city’s credit card to fund a visit by gospel singer Dottie Peoples. That amounted to more than $600 in food and rented vehicle use for a tour and luncheon Coalson said was not a city event.

The final part of the report lists that Carswell put more than 6,000 miles on his city car since June, with many of those trips being personal to places such as Walgreens, trips to the movies, to get haircuts and doctors appointments for his family.

We spoke with the mayor and he says this was all city related.

The city council plans to vote at Monday night’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. to make one of seven decisions:

  1. Receive this report as information only;
  2. Require the Mayor to return his city issued credit card;
  3. Require the Mayor to return the City vehicle and only use it for pre-approved out-of-town official city business trips;
  4. Require the Mayor to reimburse the City for all travel and charges not related to official city business;
  5. If the Mayor cannot reimburse the City immediately, deduct the reimbursement from the Mayor’s monthly stipend until the City is paid back in full;
  6. Require any future travel expenses of the Mayor to be pre-approved by the Vice-Mayor and City Manager prior to incurring the expense;
  7. Forward this report and its findings to the FBI Field Office in Augusta for review.

Count on NewsChannel 6 to keep you updated on this story.

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