If you're concerned that the city of Augusta legal department's offices are furnished with just a few upturned milk crates and bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling, don't worry. The offices look great.
At least on paper.
Finance records show that the Augusta Law Department ran up almost $5,000 in expenses on its Sam's Club account in 2009 that included silk trees, air purifiers, snacks galore, assorted objets d'art -- oh, and office supplies.
All this, mind you, while other city departments are adding notches to their financial belts just so they can tighten them even further in this down economy.
The legal department spent more money at Sam's than any other city department except for the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, which has had to purchase needed equipment such as cameras and video recorders.
Part of the law office's "needed equipment," apparently, includes not one but two Keurig Ultimate Single-Serving Coffee Systems. They cost way upwards of $100 apiece. That's more than $100 of your money, taxpayers. Drink up.
The person in charge of the Law Department is General Counsel Chiquita Johnson, who was upbraided by commissioners last month for trying to engineer a naked power grab that would have given her and her office unprecedented legal authority.
That rubbed many Augusta commissioners the wrong way. What must they think now after learning of the Sam's Club expenses? Or after learning that Ms. Johnson was fired from a previous job at the state Department of Public Safety for racking up inappropriate expenses of clothes, groceries and items from the Home Shopping Network on her American Express corporate card?
Many of the Sam's purchases were frivolous, if not utterly needless. And Johnson now may find herself in deeper hot water -- hotter than any expensively brewed coffee.