Fulton DA spent forfeiture funds on charity galas, office parties | www.myajc.com

10
Jun

Fulton DA spent forfeiture funds on charity galas, office parties | www.myajc.com

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has used thousands of dollars from a little-known stash of public money to buy things that did not have much to do with putting crooks behind bars, but that burnished his image, let him hobnob with power brokers and even upgraded his home.

During the past five years, Howard spent $2,700 on wrought-iron security doors for his house. He bought $4,450 worth of tickets to the Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic. Some $6,000 went to a lawyers group that inducted him into its Hall of Fame.

Tens of thousands more went to office parties, black-tie affairs, and donations to well-connected churches and nonprofits.

All the while, Howard complained to county commissioners that any cuts to his office could force him to lay off prosecutors.

Howard made these purchases with state civil forfeiture money, which is made up of funds seized because law enforcement thinks they are connected to drug dealing, racketeering or other crime. Often times, Howard’s office administrator requested the spending, which he and his underlings approved.

The public had little chance to scrutinize the purchases. While Georgia’s law enforcement agencies must issue yearly reports on forfeitures to post on a public website, district attorneys don’t. The AJC obtained spending records through public information requests that the Fulton DA took weeks to fulfill.

via Fulton DA spent forfeiture funds on charity galas, office parties | www.myajc.com.

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