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University patrol car picked up Azziz's children from school

Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:07 PM
Last updated Friday, April 26, 2013 12:30 AM
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As the state prepares to conduct an inquiry into the use of college resources by Georgia Regents University’s president for a family wedding, other instances of personal use of school vehicles have come to light.

Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz has called for an independent review of the use of state resources for a family wedding at his home.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz has called for an independent review of the use of state resources for a family wedding at his home.

GRU officials confirmed Thursday that university police cars have been used in the past to pick up President Ricardo Azziz’s children from school. University spokeswoman Christen Carter said patrol cars were used twice to transport the children from Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez.

Carter said both cases occurred more than 18 months ago and were “emergent incidents” in which university police were requested by a member of the Azziz family who was unable to pick up the children “due to an unexpected incident which made them unavailable.”

Carter said those were the only such incidents, to her knowledge.

“This is not the normal practice, and the Azziz family realized the potential concerns and have not
repeated the request,” she said.

The Georgia Board of Re­gents’ Office of Internal Audit and Compliance is responding to a request by Azziz on Wednesday for an “impartial assessment” of the issues and actions connected with Saturday’s wedding, which was held for his niece at the president’s home at 920 Milledge Road, known as Twin Gables.

John Millsaps, the spokesman for the Board of Regents, said field work for the assessment will begin next week.

GRU officials have acknowledged the use of state resources at the event and said the Azziz family planned to reimburse the state $416 for the use of a marked patrol car and a university system shuttle bus to ferry guests from the hotel to the event and to other locations. Four GRU police officers also worked as security for the wedding.

Millsaps said that the results of the inquiry would be made available to the public once completed but that there was no timeline on how long that might take.

Millsaps could offer no specifics, but it is expected the review will determine whether state resources were used in accordance with GRU and Board of Regents policy.

The use of the shuttle bus appears to be contrary to both.

A university policy memorandum dated Sept. 14 states, “The university should not provide transportation to the President or his family for personal business, including transportation to and from schools, vacations, etc.”

Carter provided an invoice for the shuttle bus and patrol car, billing the groom, Brian Straessle, who is not a university employee.

The invoice also appears to run counter to a Board of Regents policy governing the use of university property. The policy states that university property cannot be “removed from the campus of an institution for use on either a rental or loan basis for personal use.”

The shuttle bus was used to carry guests from the Par­tridge Inn to the wedding, and to a photo shoot at Sa­van­nah Rapids Park in Co­lum­bia County.

Carter said university shuttles have been used before by other administrations for similar activities,
which is why it was offered this time.

“During a discussion with the Azziz family, Public Safety offered the use of a shuttle, remembering the shuttles were also used as a form of transportation at events (i.e. wedding) held at Twin Gables during the administrations of two previous university presidents,” she wrote in an e-mail.

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Riverman1
84887
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Riverman1 04/26/13 - 02:51 pm
3
1
Alcohol On Shuttle Bus

I'd like to ask the shuttle bus driver if the open container law was being violated on the bus. Were they drinking alcohol in violation of the law?

nocnoc
43345
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nocnoc 04/26/13 - 03:03 pm
6
0
Out of 60 comments 54 were negative comments and climbing.

A person might get the impression he is not well liked by Augusta.

Red Headed Step Child
4097
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Red Headed Step Child 04/26/13 - 04:14 pm
4
1
@Karradur

I would think that there was no outrage about the other Chancellors because the general public didn't know about it when it happened - this is the first I and probably most of the public has heard of it. Does it make me mad? Sure - because what's right is right - whether they were white, black, yellow, pink or purple.

Would the public vitriol for them be as vehement as it is for Azziz? Hard to say, but I doubt it. I don't recall any of the other Chancellors / University Presidents being egomaniacal the way Azziz comes across nor had they done as much as Azziz has done to incite the public's ire. I'd be willing to bet that had Azziz not angered the vast majority of residents in the area with his machinations, this probably wouldn't have been publicly addressed. When you have someone who has stepped in the proverbial "doo doo" like Azziz has done repeatedly, everything will come under the microscope - you'd think he'd know that.

KSL
131073
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KSL 04/26/13 - 05:34 pm
2
2
riverman, regarding open containers

I guess it would depend on rules governing university

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-r-0128.htm

Most of us have been on chartered buses to events where passengers were allowed open containers.

OnTheHill1
345
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OnTheHill1 04/26/13 - 07:36 pm
4
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Azziz's Vendetta Against Billy Morris

This observation follows on the posts asking why wouldn't the Azziz family want to be especially careful of the image they portray, as they are under the microscope for all their past transgressions.

Out-of-town friends, ASU Alumni, told us about this Azziz decision.

This is alumni weekend for ASU/GHSU/MCG/GRU so there are lots of activities around town for the alumni events. Directions have been printed from the various hotels to these events and the GRU shuttle bus is running a route between the various hotels and the venues.

All hotels but the Marriott, because Billy Morris owns the Marriott, is the publisher of the Augusta Chronicle and a deposed member of Azziz's Board of Visitors. Azziz pulled all events scheduled at the Marriott, but now is punishing the alumni who have stayed at the Marriott for years and have chosen to stay there again.

Our friends were told there were no directions from the Marriott to any alumni events and no shuttle would be stopping. They were aghast as in past years there were always directions and shuttle service.

So the Azziz ego extends its vindictive tentacles to those who could give and support the 2 foundations and the health and wealth of the institution.

KSL
131073
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KSL 04/26/13 - 07:46 pm
4
2
As I said

He reminds me of a mini Obama.

With a bigger head.

KSL
131073
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KSL 04/26/13 - 07:44 pm
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He must feel, for some

He must feel, for some reason, that he is on pretty strong ground. I hope he really is on quicksand.

Truth Matters
6980
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Truth Matters 04/26/13 - 11:06 pm
0
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@ triscuit -9:51am

I hope that by saying "I do know a little something" you didn't think that I was challenging your comment. I simply stated that your post reminded me of something. End of story.

Truth Matters
6980
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Truth Matters 04/26/13 - 11:06 pm
0
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@ triscuit -9:51am

I hope that by saying "I do know a little something" you didn't think that I was challenging your comment. I simply stated that your post reminded me of something. End of story.

Truth Matters
6980
Points
Truth Matters 04/27/13 - 12:13 am
0
1
@Riverman

I would agree that others don't direct police to pick up their kids but I would imagine if some had the clout of a university prez they just might try it.

If he does use his computer for personal reasons, as a state employee he is breaking a rule as I understand it. My point being that many break rules in proportion to their power and position. I don't know of a state boss being able to give others permission to use a state computer for personal reasons as the governor of GA has made it clear under his ethics policy that there are some things that won't fly. Might some look the other way while it is done? I wouldn't bet against it.

There is a lot of squealing here; must have hit a nerve.

Truth Matters
6980
Points
Truth Matters 04/27/13 - 12:23 am
0
1
@seenitb4

You obviously want a fight.
If you read my post you already know that I alluded to the fact that people may read or post during their break from work.
You don't have to be oppositional just for the sake of it.

There is a deep stream of intolerance toward certain posters and it needs to stop. The whole idea is to allow a venue for different ideas and opinions. That does not mean that every opposing thought has to be shot down or treated as a personal affront.

Darby
26005
Points
Darby 04/28/13 - 12:32 am
1
1
"There is a deep stream of intolerance

toward certain posters "

.
I noticed that as well. Probably brought about by said posters' confrontational style.

Truth Matters
6980
Points
Truth Matters 04/28/13 - 09:12 pm
0
0
Confrontational style

Perhaps, but I am not one who calls others stupid or the like. Not saying that you do but we both have read where others have done so then fein outrage when they are called out on it.

Let's be honest, a rebuttal is generally "confrontational" when one disagrees with it.

Darby
26005
Points
Darby 04/28/13 - 09:57 pm
1
0
"I am not one who calls others stupid

or the like. Not saying that you do.."

.
Thanks for that. I have never called anyone on these pages stupid although IMHO some have certainly warranted it. (Gotta watch out for Sean.) Right Sean????

I guess that like beauty, an affront may be in the eye (or mind) of the beholder.

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