SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - Crunching the numbers. That's how Southaven Mayor Greg Davis is spending his days, pouring over the report issued by the Mississippi State Auditor stating he owes the city $170,000 including interest and investigative fees.
Mayor Davis told abc24.com he may not have kept receipts for the money in question, but it was spent on city business, not personal travel and expenses like the state claims. Davis is now trying to track down receipts to prove the auditor's office wrong.
The mayor is going over two and a half years of city expenses, looking for receipts from July 2009 to April 2011 to account for the $153,588.78 the state said was misused. According to Davis, the money was spent as part of the city's tourism and travel budget to attract new businesses to Southaven.
"On business dinners and entertaining," Davis told abc24.com.
It's money Davis said he spent in the city's best interest and can account for. As to where the majority of it went? The mayor told abc24.com a huge chunk was spent in two places. One is a restaurant in Jackson, the other Southaven's Mesquite Chophouse.
"Half of it can be accounted for in about two restaurants, airline tickets and hotel stays," Davis told abc24.com. "One of the largest expenses I've found was at Mint restaurant in Jackson. That's where our winter conference is and our alderman attend and we host legislators. That was a $6,000 expense."
Also on the auditor's list, more than $20,000 for psychological counseling. Davis believes that cost should be covered under his yearly training budget.
"The counseling portion that's still unpaid should fall under the guidelines of training, but the auditor gets to make ultimate decision and we'll live with it," said Davis.
The mayor's known about the investigation for the last seven months, and said in a way he's relieved it's now out in the open.
"Even though it's a large number, there's some sense of relief it's over. There's not much they can try to point to and say you shouldn't have done this. Basically they said you didn't keep any receipts so pay it all back. I'm still going to act as mayor and promote the city and do things the way we've always done them, expect I'll have paper receipts from now on," Davis told abc24.com.