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More renovations at GRU president's house not state approved

Saturday, May 4, 2013 7:05 PM
Last updated Sunday, May 5, 2013 1:42 AM
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School officials have spent more than $280,000 on repairs and renovations at the Georgia Regents University president’s home since 2010 without seeking approval from the state Board of Regents, according to documents obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz took over as the leader of the institution, then called Medical College of Georgia, in July 2010.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz took over as the leader of the institution, then called Medical College of Georgia, in July 2010.

Questions about construction work at the state-owned home of GRU President Ri­cardo Azziz arose last week, when it was revealed that university officials were planning to add at least a $75,000 carport to the existing two-car garage at the 100-year-old house at 920 Milledge Road, know as Twin Gables.

Officials disclosed that the carport project had not been submitted for approval by the Board of Regents as required by policy for all presidents’ homes in the state university system.

Board spokesman John Millsaps said the project would need board approval before moving forward. Millsaps also said the board had not approved any renovation work at Twin Gables in the past several years.

Board policy, adopted in 1991, states, “Any proposed project for improvement of a president’s home, other than routine and necessary maintenance, shall be submitted for review and approval by the Chancellor and the Board of Regents. Any subsequent changes in the scope of the project or budget shall be similarly submitted for review and approval.”

In the past three years at Twin Gables, roofs have been replaced, exterior walls constructed, buildings painted, heating and air systems replaced, and renovations have been made to the interior, according to invoices obtained by The Chronicle through an open-records request.

GRU spokeswoman Christ­en Carter said the total cost for work, including minor repairs at the property since June 2010, is about $284,000.

How much of this work qualifies as “routine and necessary maintenance” is uncertain.

Carter said those questions would need to be answered by the University System.

“I can’t speak to how these projects would be identified under the policy,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Millsaps said none of the work has been submitted for approval.

At least some of the construction at the property appears beyond routine.

Documents show rooms were constructed on the home’s third floor, which required framing, drywall, electrical, and heating and air work.

Charles Bourne, who served as construction superintendent for the job with Gilbane Construction in 2010, said it was a renovation to make room for the Azziz family.

“We only had a couple of months to get it all done because the new president was coming in,” he said.

Bourne said he recalls that a new bedroom and sitting room were constructed on the third floor, in addition to the floor refinishing and painting that was done on the home’s interior.

He said the renovation gave the 11,000-square-foot home a fifth bedroom.

“As big a home as that is, most of it seems to be entertainment areas,” Bourne said.

Twin Gables is one of only three presidents’ homes still owned and operated by the state university system, Millsaps said. The two others are at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, he said.

They are unique properties, which is probably why the board has specific policies that apply only to presidents’ homes, he said.

Carter said the carport project, which is subject to revision that could increase the construction budget, is still being considered.

She said university officials plan to seek Board of Regents approval before proceeding.

Millsaps said he couldn’t say whether it would be approved. Nor could he say whether previous construction projects should have been submitted because that is something only the chancellor and the Board of Regents can decide.

“It is a board policy,” he said.

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GnipGnop
10949
Points
GnipGnop 05/04/13 - 07:48 pm
15
2

Surprised?

I'm not...he has thumbed his nose at us commoners since he first stepped foot on Augusta's uncool soil...he's a politician just like the board of regents...they will now do a two step and no harm will come to this man who is just to cool to be stopped....

Riverman1
70606
Points
Riverman1 05/04/13 - 08:17 pm
12
1

$284,000 renovations without

$284,000 renovations without approval? If the $480 Azziz will pay for using the shuttle bus for the wedding is an example, the renovations probably cost even more.

neatfreakmom
20
Points
neatfreakmom 05/04/13 - 08:19 pm
13
1

Go

It's time for Azziz to pack his bags and hit the road!

nocnoc
30930
Points
nocnoc 05/04/13 - 08:33 pm
8
2

Enough is Enough

If there is any equality of law in GA. ?

The State Attorney General has needed conduct and file criminal charges for some months now but has avoided it.

WHY ?

Right now we have too many politicians playing Ostrich with their heads in the Ga. Red Clay, because it is an a election year.

my.voice
4194
Points
my.voice 05/04/13 - 09:44 pm
17
1

LAY OFF! The work done to the

LAY OFF! The work done to the house was primarily related to the door widening required to fit his big-ole head through.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/04/13 - 11:23 pm
4
2

Ms Carter, I believe, given

Ms Carter, I believe, given the huge illegally spent amount we have just found out about, I would suggest this over priced "staging area" not be pursued.

Parnell S
64
Points
Parnell S 05/04/13 - 11:51 pm
7
1

What does it take?

It is past time for him to GO! He basically has spit in the face of the citizens of this area.

Darby
19165
Points
Darby 05/05/13 - 12:17 am
7
2

No sweat...

after all, there's no bottom to the taxpayer well.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 12:22 am
5
2

Not to mention being the

Not to mention being the current beneficiary of illegally spent funds, while it is rumored that employees are intimidated and scared to speak up. (As posted repeatedly in the AC comments.)

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 12:26 am
6
2

Cynical

He did not do it without help, or otherwise, the staff involved were woefully uneducated about procurement procedure in the University system.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 02:16 am
4
2

Either way

GA taxpayers are getting messed with.

nocnoc
30930
Points
nocnoc 05/05/13 - 06:47 am
6
1

There once was a popular song

There once was a popular song called the Beat Goes On.

The parody verison

The Thief goes on, the Thief goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm in the rain
La de da de de, la de da de da

Augusta college and MCG were all once the rage, uh huh
By Azziz has turned the page, uh huh
The Ga. Regents are now thing, uh huh
Eddie Munster is our newborn king, uh huh

The tune http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH9qxNPjmkk

I am sure some local talent can take this idea make a Youtube video and rework the lyrics. PLEASE.

grinder48
1357
Points
grinder48 05/05/13 - 07:48 am
0
0

Summerville Neighborhood Association

Unpublished

Probably not as important as approval from Board of Regents but approval by the Summerville Neighborhood Association (SNA) is also required. If I'm not mistaken, this approval not something SNA simply "made up" but SNA has legal authority granted by ARC Commission to protect the integrity of the historic district. It would be interesting to know is SNA approval was requested for any of this work, especially the new garage because it changes the exterior. Surely azziz respects local authority, right?!

maandpa
156
Points
maandpa 05/05/13 - 07:59 am
9
1

$280,000+

Most of us don't even live in houses that cost that much and that is how much Azziz has spent on renovations using tax payers money! This supports why we have a university named GRU instead of ASU--it is what Azziz wanted. It is all about him.

justthefacts
17992
Points
justthefacts 05/05/13 - 08:15 am
3
2

nocnoc

Thanks for the link (lighthearted sarcasm intended). Now I have been listening to Sonny and Cher clips for the last half hour. Blast from the past.

prov227
2291
Points
prov227 05/05/13 - 08:17 am
4
1

Sometimes

we all have to make sacrifices for a growing family.

Butterbean
242
Points
Butterbean 05/05/13 - 08:29 am
7
1

This information needs to be taken further.

This information needs to be taken further. For example:
1. We know that this work was not approved.
2. Who actually paid for this work - State Funds (University Budgeted money); or, Foundation Funds.
3. Who actually did the work? Private contractor or was state employees used in any instances?

I would hope that this reporting goes a little further to uncover the extent of this type of activity.

Benjamin Paine
233
Points
Benjamin Paine 05/05/13 - 08:47 am
7
1

Culture of corruption and fear?

I think KSL is correct.

It appears that GRU has a CULTURE of corruption and fear. People are either enabling these behaviors, personally benefiting from them or are too afraid to say anything. Either way, it is time for the state to step in and conduct official audits and investigations.

They need to meet with campus employees and give them a chance to speak confidentially as to what is occurring. Just imagine what the possibilities are given the lack of transparency in fund flows from the hospital to these individuals. One can only imagine what investigators would find. I think we are only seeing the tip of this iceberg.

rmwhitley
5081
Points
rmwhitley 05/05/13 - 09:05 am
0
0

Y'all

Unpublished

got yerselves a gem of a peach down thar.

belle
277
Points
belle 05/05/13 - 09:07 am
0
0

The real question is...

Unpublished

WHY were proper procedures not followed? Lack of information or blatant disregard? Once that is established, the repairs/improvements can be looked at and determined necessary or not. $280,000 sounds like a lot to most of us but for repairs to a home of this size and age, not unreasonable. (please keep in mind asbestos and lead paint remediation) Now, would like to know why they NEED a carport?

Butterbean
242
Points
Butterbean 05/05/13 - 09:26 am
9
1

Raging Bull, That is why I am interested in WHO SIGNED OFF

internally on these projects. Someone is guilty of not doing their job. And someone needs to be put on the spot for much deserved answers. If someone in the internal organization is signing off on these projects, then someone is guilty and should be pointed out to authority (higher than Azziz).

augusta citizen
7652
Points
augusta citizen 05/05/13 - 09:27 am
7
1

Regents

The Board of Regents needs to show some wisdom and quick. Azziz is making them look like the Board of Fools. How can they expect anyone to think they have the qualifications for their positions on the BOR? If I were them I'd be sending this clown out of town, so I could appear to still have some credibility!

Butterbean
242
Points
Butterbean 05/05/13 - 09:45 am
11
2

At some point one must

At some point one must quit looking at the Board of Regents - and focus on the inactivity (on these issues) by the Chancellor himself. Either the Chancellor leads or he is part of the problem here. He has his chance (again) to show us which one describes him best.

crkgrdn
2172
Points
crkgrdn 05/05/13 - 09:55 am
8
1

????!!!!

Someone is responsible for disbursing that money.
This article falls short in investigation.

WalterBradfordCannon
1133
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 05/05/13 - 10:05 am
4
13

I know it is all the rage to

I know it is all the rage to bash Azziz, but he will likely remain or move to better positions. He has led the fundraising efforts for the last two years that have totaled more than the prior decade of fundraising. It is unbelievable, and completely dwarfs the fundraising at other universities in the university systems of Georgia. Of all the things that happen at GRU, fundraising is more specifically the purview of the president than anything else, and he is proving to be truly excellent at closing the deal.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 10:23 am
8
4

So fund raising is what is

So fund raising is what is more important to you. Not behaving ethnically and honestly and setting a good example for his future graduates? Is it all just about the money? Could he not have raised the funds without his selfish and bad behavior?

Riverman1
70606
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 10:28 am
9
2

Azziz had nothing to do with

Azziz had nothing to do with the $70 plus million Dr. Harrison donated to MCG. Dr. Harrison was a supporter long before Azziz showed up.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 10:30 am
6
2

By all means, he should move

By all means, he should move to a better position and become someone else's problem.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 10:36 am
4
2

Reputation

Because of his antics, I fear we may be stuck with him unless he can be fired for his theft.

KSL
105925
Points
KSL 05/05/13 - 10:37 am
2
4

Notice, the Spanish

Notice, the Spanish connection is what has been played up most recently.

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