Documentation Under Fire at Southaven Mayor's Civil Trial

Documentation Under Fire at Southaven Mayor's Civil Trial

In day two of the Southaven mayor's civil trial in Jackson, Mississippi, his lawyer spent the entire morning arguing that no wrongdoing had taken place. The state auditor has demanded that Mayor Greg Davis repay more than $170,000, money Davis is accused of spending on himself.
JACKSON, MS (abc24.com) - In day two of the Southaven mayor's civil trial in Jackson, Mississippi, his lawyer spent the entire morning arguing that no wrongdoing had taken place.

The state auditor has demanded that Mayor Greg Davis repay more than $170,000, money Davis is accused of spending on himself.

The woman who led the investigation into Davis' spending was back on the stand Tuesday. In her second day of testifying, Karen Swain was clearly aggravated.

The two sides are at odds over how Davis documented his spending.

"The state auditor doesn't have any regulation that requires or even tells any executive of the city, this is what we want to have on your receipts, you have to put the name of the person who is being entertained, you have to put what it is that is being said or what's being discussed, and what the benefit of it is to the city. State auditor doesn't require that, does it?" Davis' attorney, Michael Heilman, asked Swain.

She replied, "I think rational municipal leaders understand that."

Swain was exasperated at times over the questions Heilman asked.

"If he was looking at it, why didn't he record it properly, as he knew he was supposed to use this official travel form to do? Then he wouldn't have to remember two years later," she noted.

The court looked at a July 2009 trip Davis took to Philadelphia.

"Wouldn't you expect that if the city leaders of the city employees turn in what the auditor requires that they should be okay?" asked Heilman, to which Swain had no immediate response.

Davis was ordered to repay expenses from that trip, even though Swain cleared some of them as legitimate business charges. Swain said that's because Davis had no documentation.

She said, "If he would have put it on the official travel form and identified it properly, we might not be arguing about which specific individual transaction was legitimate and not legitimate."

Davis' lawyer argued receipts and that kind of documentation are not required by state law.

He asked, "Why were the meal expenses and the purchase of airfare and the hotel expenses related to the trip to Philadelphia were excluded by your office and in your investigation from reimbursement?"

"The ones listed on the personal credit card? Because they did not have any documentation," she answered.

The mayor's sticking point continues to be Southaven's Board of Aldermen approved all his charges.

"The aldermen, we know three times for them to review and they approved them each time, right?" posed Heilman.

Swain stated, "The aldermen did review the city card, yes."

Swain was the second person to testify in this case. She was on the stand for two days. There are still almost a dozen witnesses expected to be called, which means the trial is not going to end anytime soon.

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