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Former employee claims Atlanta used funds set aside for police cars to beef up SUV's for mayor

ATLANTA (CBS46) -

As the city of Atlanta prepares to usher in a new mayor, there are questions about how the new mayor will be ushered in and around Atlanta.

CBS46 Investigates obtained the un-redacted purchase order for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's personal protection vehicles. What we found is angering watchdog groups.

Tracy Woodard was fired by the police department after making claims the city used funds set aside to replace aging police cars to purchase and beef up two GMC Yukon Denalis for Mayor Reed and his family.

"We knew it was $150,000 that the mayor was taking. We did not know there was going to be an additional cost to another $50,000 because the mayor wanted it supped up, and these were words that were told to me," says Woodard.

The Yukons cost more than $73,000 a piece before modifications.

With the help of our attorneys, CBS46 Investigates decided to plow through the bureaucracy and find out why the city footed the bill for the top-of-the-line Denalis to be used only by the mayor and his family.

The SUV's were purchased from Wamar Technologies, headquartered in Atlanta.

The city told CBS46 it can't release specifics on the mayor's SUV's because of security risks, but we did learn the city spent a hefty amount on amenities, including more than $6,300 on two premium packages, in addition to the following:

  • $7,120 for runflat tires.
  • $3,390 for rear entertainment systems and Blu-ray.
  • $290 for chrome handles.
  • $7,800 for a custom light package, including "limo" tent for the windows and the mounted blue lights that allow the SUV's to weave through traffic under police escort.
  • $7,200 spent on something that was unclear because the city wouldn't disclose the information and covered up the description.

It was close to $41,000 spent on upgrades for both Yukons, and after adding the $1,600 acquisition fee, the Atlanta Police Department spent more than $189,000 on executive protection.

Gov. Nathan Deal doesn't have that level of fleet protection. 

When asked why the city footed the bill for Mayor Reed's pimped up rides, we were told Woodard's claims are the result of a disgruntled employee.

"Specifically, allegations that the vehicle purchases were not made appropriately by APD are false, and will be contested in court. These allegations have been brought forth by a disgruntled former city employee who was terminated with cause," says Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.

We have repeatedly pressed the mayor's office for a statement. While he would not sit down with us, his communications director said, "the mayor has nothing to do with the purchase of vehicles. He does not sit in a room and pick out upgrades. These are police vehicles."

With a new mayor on the way, we have asked what happens to those cars? We are awaiting a response.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved 

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