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Azziz to reimburse GRU for resources used at private wedding

Monday, April 22, 2013 7:10 PM
Last updated Tuesday, April 23, 2013 6:12 PM
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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.

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A bus with a Georgia Health Sciences University seal on the side and government plates pulls up to The Partridge Inn to shuttle wedding guests to the home of GRU President Ricardo Azziz on Milledge Road.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
A bus with a Georgia Health Sciences University seal on the side and government plates pulls up to The Partridge Inn to shuttle wedding guests to the home of GRU President Ricardo Azziz on Milledge Road.

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.

THE WEDDING

See wedding photos on Twitter @Brian_Hitched

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OnTheHill1
347
Points
OnTheHill1 04/23/13 - 06:54 am
4
0
The Fifth Estate Holds Azziz Accountable

Thank you, Augusta Chronicle, for giving this discovery the importance it deserves, in the print version: (1) giving it above the fold 1st page viewing, (2) using an unflattering picture (we all see him this way anyway no matter the picture used), (3) using quotes around the word 'volunteered' in the subtitle, (4) stating the policy on use of other resources as 'isn't as clearly defined' and then in the next paragraph quoting the policy that clearly defines he did violate policy and in general (5) maintaining the pressure on The Azziz, the consummate bully, that is so richly deserved.

The BOR, Governor Deal, by their actions, have given the despot free reign over his kingdom. Only Azziz' arrogant, above-the-law actions provide all of us who watch Azziz and the Chronicle a means to hold his feet to the fire. I only hope such continued pressure will force him out of town. Note he has been very quiet lately locally, no public appearances, no outrageous pronouncements.

For a laugh, Google "Georgia Regents University" and look at the Azziz caricature in the top right hand column. If this was a Chronicle doing, thank you again!

MrClen1944
374
Points
MrClen1944 04/23/13 - 07:39 am
6
0
I don't believe FLSA

allows personnel to "volunteer" for duties within their work arena unless they are paid overtime. The way he uses and intimidates people is the reason FLSA has policies about it. This is another "in your face you uncool, not as smart as I am" runt.

BamaMan
2687
Points
BamaMan 04/23/13 - 07:43 am
7
3
Shameful

Just shameful. PLANS to reimburse? Does he not have enough money to not PLAN to reimburse? Why hasn't he already done it, and does he not have enough money to PAY for a limo for his PRIVATE party, I don't care the cost? Couldn't he have paid them in cash at the end of his PRIVATE party? No need to answer, it appears he was trying to use OUR money, not his. He's GOT to be a democrat.

KSL
143811
Points
KSL 04/23/13 - 08:33 am
5
2
He writes for the Huffington

He writes for the Huffington Post. What can you say?

Red Headed Step Child
4490
Points
Red Headed Step Child 04/23/13 - 08:38 am
3
0
Why this surprises anyone

is beyond me..It's apparent he's been given carte blanche to do whatever he wants - he's the savior of the University System! He works sooooo hard for the university - how dare we begrudge him a little transportation and security for his guests?

gbhs
75
Points
gbhs 04/23/13 - 09:21 am
5
0
FIRE HIM!

Kim Jong Azziz lives in a home owned by the Board of Regents...mortgage free. He used "volunteers"...want to bet they were made to serve the wedding?! Essentially, he put on a wedding for much less than we paid for our own weddings. Get this guy out of Augusta!

Riverman1
93649
Points
Riverman1 04/23/13 - 09:35 am
4
1
Charges?

Governor Deal, now's your chance. It's pretty clear it's against the law. State Attorney General? DA locally? Here is the contact info for the Attorney General:

Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Ga 30334

Phone:
(404) 656-3300

Fax:
(404) 657-8733

E-mail:
AGOlens@law.ga.gov

OnTheHill1
347
Points
OnTheHill1 04/23/13 - 09:59 am
3
0
Where is the Truth? Where is the Accountability?

April 12th salary piece last week - GRU administration slightly smaller, but some are richer - stated Azziz' salary at $560,000, that he was not the highest paid administrator. Au contraire, he is paid the absolute most, with income from other sources other than the state provided income (quoting from the article, "In her e-mail, Norton says that 'almost half (47 percent) of the reported salaries are funded through clinical revenue' from the university’s health system 'or other non-state revenue sources.'"), with his free house and who knows how much "income in kind" from thefts such as stated in this article. Who paid for the food, flowers, other incidentals?

Understand I'm not so concerned about these details but what is the truth? Where is the accountability? We as taxpayers pay a major portion of his compensation yet there is no audit, no accounting for the expended funds, what he draws from the 2 foundations, what he pays for these regular dinners at his house, other 'hidden" compensation?

Aren't we due the truth, as he is a state employee?

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/23/13 - 10:57 am
0
0
Ain't it
Unpublished

amazing that those in positions of authority have a Phd. in how to abuse it?

NrthAugustaSam
504
Points
NrthAugustaSam 04/23/13 - 12:09 pm
3
0
Take the Bus

Azziz should just take the next bus to another state.

gderlitz
7
Points
gderlitz 04/23/13 - 02:43 pm
2
0
Well la de da!

Well isn't this "speeeccialll". How about he reimburse the 45K for the bogus market research/survey for the name of the school. The use of the 45K dollars was highway robbery! How much money is he wasting with all the GRU propaganda mailings we keep getting? Obviously he doesn't get it. Mailing out slick brochures/alumni magazines and phone calls for alumni donation is not going to make any ASU alumni a GRU alumni or an advocate for GRUsome U.

TheFreeLance
4
Points
TheFreeLance 04/23/13 - 03:17 pm
2
0
Odd that the bride and groom missed this...

...little embarrassment as she works in PR in DC and he is a former congressional staffer and current flack for the American Petroleum Institute.

Their alarm bells should have been going off as soon as Uncle Azziz suggested it.

charles6780
203
Points
charles6780 04/23/13 - 04:09 pm
3
0
Know we know

This explains why there was a shortage of shuttles for the "Take Back the Day 5K Run/Walk" on Saturday, which began on the Summerville GRU campus. This was posted on the event site:
Race Route

ALL DOWNHILL! AUGUSTA'S FASTEST 5K! The three mile walk will begin at the Georgia Regents University Amphitheater (Summerville campus), continue through the campuses of Paine College and GRU (Downtown campus) and end in front of University Hospital located at 1350 Walton Way. Shuttles will be available to transport runners and walkers back to ASU.
The shuttles were limited(2) and were extremely crowded, and wait time ran to 45 minutes to an hour. Thanks Azziz.

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 04/23/13 - 04:14 pm
2
0
Board of Regents take note...

You've been told over and as has the Governor that the current President of MCG is unfit for this position.

Are you paying attention at all?

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 04/23/13 - 04:36 pm
3
0
Above reproach...

He needs to find out from the citizens of what he refers to as a "Podunk" town that he will suffer the consequences for his misdeeds.

He broke the law.

He is smart enough to know that he was breaking the law.

The Governor and Board of Regents need to take proper action.

Lets see what consequences are dished out.

His ignorance of the rules/ protocols is amazing!

GiantsAllDay
10485
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/23/13 - 05:42 pm
1
0
Simple question (for anyone

Simple question (for anyone who knows): if a typist clerk II working for the state of georgia misappropriated funds in the same manner, what would happen to him or her?

burninater
9921
Points
burninater 04/23/13 - 06:11 pm
2
0
He should do the respectable

He should do the respectable thing after misappropriating taxpayer resources for personal travel. He should resign his governorship, wait a few years, and then run for the SC District 1 House Seat.

Oh wait, wrong guy.

augustarookie
301
Points
augustarookie 04/23/13 - 10:31 pm
1
0
saga continues

Volunteered my rear and 20 for an police car. Sounds a bit fishy and just another king-like stunt from this guy. Pure arrogance.

Inmyopinion2
41
Points
Inmyopinion2 04/23/13 - 11:16 pm
2
0
This is an example of BOR Ethics and Policy violations

It seems to me that this is a violation of the University System of Georgia Ethics Policy. The policy (http://www.usg.edu/audit/compliance/ethics) applies to the USG community that includes “All individuals employed by, or acting on behalf of, the USG or one of the USG institutions …” (Section 8.2.20.2 Applicability).

Furthermore, the code of conduct section requires the USG community to:
“Act as good stewards of the resources and information entrusted to our care.” This includes the requirement that “USG property shall not be used for personal gain or purposes except for incidental personal use of email, a telephone to make a local telephone call or incidental Internet use that is not inconsistent with applicable laws and policies". This code also cites BOR Policy 9.10.6.4 which states, “USG property owned by an institution shall be used only for institutional purposes. No USG employees shall permit such property to be removed from the campus of an institution for use on either a rental or loan basis for personal use (BoR Minutes, 1949-50, p. 109).”

Another code says that members of the USG community will “Not use your position or authority improperly to advance the interests of a friend or relative.” Although this section focuses on hiring, promotion, etc. of friends or relatives, is it not also an improper use of position or authority to justify use of state resources for the benefit of family and friends?

Also, according to section 2.12 of the USG personnel handbook, “Employees are not permitted to use any System Office supplies or equipment for private/ personal purposes.”

Finally, section 2.16 of the USG personnel handbook states, “State vehicles may not be used for personal purposes except as stipulated by the state.” I doubt that using a state vehicle to enhance the pleasure and convenience of family and friends at a family wedding is covered under “as stipulated by the state”.

My point in all of this, is that the actions of Azziz includes BOR ethics violations, BOR policy violations, and misuse of state property. If typical employees of GRU misused state funds to such an extreme, termination would likely be the immediate result. Shouldn’t the BOR act the same way when the top leader at a comprehensive institution violates the same codes and rules and sets a poor example for his followers?

WAG
287
Points
WAG 04/24/13 - 06:40 am
1
0
I called to speak with him

I called to speak with him but of course he was unavailable. Wanted to see who to speak to about using the bus . I have a wedding coming up. Course the young lady answering the phone knew nothing. everyone should call. I hope the Chronicle does not drop this story. run this arrogant pompous man out of town! He needs to be fired . Any other employee would be.

NrthAugustaSam
504
Points
NrthAugustaSam 04/24/13 - 12:31 pm
1
0
Hey Chronicle!!!

Follow through with Wedding-gate or Bus-gate. Do not let up.

BillyBoy
3
Points
BillyBoy 04/24/13 - 02:37 pm
1
0
President Ricardo Azziz (The Thief)

The Thief not only broke GA State Law and abused his trusted position, by using personnel and equipment for personal use. He stole from the local community by not paying for limo and security services; a Limo Company would have paid a driver, and a security company would paid a guard, the companies would have had to pay local and state sales taxes, and all would have had to pay income taxes to the state and the feds. But all is forgiven; after all he is a good (egotistical) liberal that knows what is best for all.

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