SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - How much has the state investigation into Southaven Mayor Greg Davis cost the city?
The mayor's been ordered to pay back $170,000 to the state, accused of misusing the money by spending it on himself. The controversy surrounding Davis could have cost the city much more than that, maybe a million dollars.
Before the investigation into Mayor Davis started, Southaven was on track to receive two grants from the state, each worth half a million dollars. Now, the city can forget about that money.
"We were working through the system with every intention of getting the grant and it just kind of died," says Whitney Choat.
As Southaven's planning director, a big part of Choat's job includes securing grant money for the city.
That has been a lot harder since the state investigation into Mayor Greg Davis. A one million dollar grant has completely fallen through.
"It was called Safe Routes to School and it was a way to get sidewalks and bike paths down through our neighborhoods to our school system so kids don't have to always be on a bus or car," Choat says.
The money was coming from MDOT. Everything seemed to be on track until the state audit into Davis.
"We've never had any more response since I'd say October, the beginning of November," she tells abc24.com. "We haven't had a response on that."
In December, MDOT also froze funds on two other Southaven projects, their combined worth over a million dollars.
"They're just saying basically until the LPA, which is the City of Southaven, and the Mississippi State Auditor's Office investigation is complete, they were delaying any kind of money to us," she says.
One is an $850,000 grant to install three miles of walking trails in Southaven's parks. The other is a project to widen Getwell Road.
This week, the city got good news on those projects.
"They've quit freezing, stalling or delaying our funds," says Choat.
But Choat believes the other one million dollar grant is gone for good.
"Be it the investigation or just by chance, it all happened around the same time," she says. "I don't know if that's what killed it or not, but I doubt very seriously we'll get that money."
The investigation into Davis began last April. It was made public in November. On Friday, January 6th, Southaven's Board of Alderman asked the mayor to resign.
Davis has not responded to that request; instead he's announced he will be taking 30 to 60 days off for health reasons.