Georgia Regents University officials said President Ricardo Azziz plans to reimburse the university for the cost of a state-owned bus used to carry guests of a private wedding held at his home last weekend.
University spokeswoman Christen Carter acknowledged the use of university resources, including the bus and GRU police officers for security at the wedding for Azziz’s niece, Breeanna Beckhamn and Brian Straessle. Beckham and Straessle live and work in the Washington, D.C., area but held their wedding Saturday evening on the grounds of the Azziz residence, which is property of the University Board of Regents.
“The Azziz family will reimburse the university for costs associated with shuttle rental and driver, and one marked police unit,” Carter wrote in an e-mail.
The shuttle bus and the driver were on duty for about 11 hours Saturday at a rate of $36 per hour, Carter said. She also said there was a $20 charge for the use of a marked police car.
Carter said the entire cost for university resources was $416. To book a similar shuttle for a Saturday event in Augusta through Limos.com costs about $1,600.
She said university attorneys provided her a copy of a Georgia Health Sciences University policy memorandum that applied to the use of resources by the president. She said the policy, dated Sept. 14, was in the process of being updated.
Although the policy clearly allows the president to hold family events, such as weddings, at the Milledge Road home, the use of other resources, such as buses, isn’t as clearly defined and does not provide for reimbursement of costs for such services.
The policy states, “The university should not provide transportation to the President or his family for personal business, including transportation to and from schools, vacations, etc.”
At least one university bus was seen being used to transport guests from the Partridge Inn on Walton Way to the event at the Milledge Road home and also to a wedding photo session at another location.
Photos of the wedding, including members of the wedding party inside the bus and at Savannah Rapids Park in Columbia County, were posted on the groom’s Twitter account Saturday.
The university policy states that the university “must provide security” for the president’s home.
Four police officers also worked at the wedding but were not paid for that duty, Carter said.
“They volunteered,” she said.