Azziz's transit authority

GRU's reigning monarch grabs taxpayer-funded resources for personal enrichment

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Can you imagine a mayor commandeering a city bus, as well as city police officers, to help pull off an extended relative’s wedding at a taxpayer-owned home?

Of course not. That would be a raw abuse of power, an imperious and legally questionable, ethically dubious act. No leader worth his salt would even contemplate such an autocratic, high-handed appropriation of the public’s resources for personal benefit.

But Ricardo Azziz actually did such a thing.

The president of Georgia Regents University last weekend seized the university’s shuttle, a driver and four university police officers to help him put on his niece’s wedding. The shuttle, on duty for some 11 hours, ferried wedding guests between the Partridge Inn and Azziz’s state-owned home.

These are the actions of a man who appears to think the university is there to serve him, that all its employees and resources are at his beck and call.

It is yet another example of this man’s continued bad judgment.

If what he did is legal, it ought not be. Government officials should never be allowed carte-blanche use of taxpayer-supplied resources for purely personal uses. This wedding in no way advanced the university or the president’s role in it.

Quite the opposite, in fact; Azziz has yet again diminished his office with his pretentious wielding of nearly unchecked power for his own selfish gain – not to mention his cheapskate attempt to avoid the cost of a
private limo.

We checked. By seizing state assets instead, Azziz saved all of $1,200 off the cost of a limo. This, from a man making in the neighborhood of $600,000 a year and living rent-free.

But while he’s offered to reimburse the university its alleged cost of $416, money isn’t the issue. The issue is the kind of self-exalted thinking that leads this man to presume the university is his kingdom, and himself the monarch.

Azziz wouldn’t deign to answer questions this week, and a television reporter who showed up to one GRU office was put in phone contact with an Azziz spokeswoman who told the reporter to leave.

The reporter asked GRU students what they thought of Azziz’s actions. They were rightly outraged, with one noting that students recently had to use their own cars to get to a school-sponsored trip to the Augusta Youth Development campus.

The four university officers were initially described by a spokeswoman Monday as having “volunteered” to work the wedding – which would raise a number of questions about the propriety of such an arrangement.

Wednesday, after growing questions about the supposed volunteer officers, the story oddly changed: The officers are now said to have been paid in cash by the happy couple.

Although, since one of the four officers is an hourly employee, the university must now pay him time and a half.

Given Azziz’s ill treatment of the Augusta community – particularly his ramming the Georgia Regents name down our throats, despite near-unanimous revulsion at it and a national survey prefering the name “Augusta” – you have to believe this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Heaven knows what other resources have been expended, borrowed or conscripted by royal decree, in order to please the king.

It’s a good bet there are other tales of outrage to be had, but he’s got the workforce at the university so frightened into silence that there’s a lid on them.

Sooner or later, the truth will out. The serfs will have had quite enough.

When that time comes, we’ll be happy to pony up the cost of a limo to take him to the airport.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Little Lamb
47011
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Little Lamb 04/25/13 - 03:32 am
9
0
Regent

From the editorial:

The issue is the kind of self-exalted thinking that leads this man to presume the university is his kingdom, and himself the monarch.

Why not? He came up with the imperious name in the first place. Let us hope the lawsuit is successful.

Riverman1
87064
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Riverman1 04/25/13 - 06:40 am
12
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Surrealistic Azziz

As I guessed the information is now starting to flow. Interesting that every disclosure paints the picture of Azziz as a tyrant demanding personal, sycophantic performances from those around him.

Azziz’s pathetic surrealistic paintings have been pushed off on people all over the community trying to appease him. He should do a self-portrait making his head real big, but his hands and feet tiny. Those teeny weeny hands and feet may be the key.

Riverman1
87064
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Riverman1 04/25/13 - 06:43 am
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Question Grooo Police Chief

As things start to unfold, GRU Police Chief Bill McBride appears to be an integral player in attempting to lessen the damage from these revelations. I’d remind McBride he is an officer of the law and question him. When did he receive the cash payment for the officers working at the wedding and who gave it to him? Was he told they would be paid BEFORE the wedding?

Next, I’d specifically ask him about tasks the officers routinely do for Azziz’s family that can be only described as personal and using state resources while causing officers to be absent from their duties on the college campus.

OnTheHill1
347
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OnTheHill1 04/25/13 - 08:05 am
12
0
Remember those Save The A Signs Planted in his Front Yard?

To Riverman1's comment, word on the street is that he called and demanded immediate response to physical plant employees to remove the several dozen "Save The A" signs from his front yard, a small example of a decision that clearly illustrates that he views all University resources are at his beck and call. The "impartial review" should include a complete audit of the wedding costs, and extend to his use, since he was crowned, of discretionary funds used for personal benefit, traveling, entertainment, food, drink, etc.

seenitB4
90981
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seenitB4 04/25/13 - 09:09 am
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Oh Boy

Teeny tiny stuff...now that is funny!

deestafford
28762
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deestafford 04/25/13 - 09:11 am
12
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We had a "Save the A" campaign.

Now is the time to start a "LOOSE THE A" campaign with the "A" being Azziz.

Fiat_Lux
15913
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Fiat_Lux 04/25/13 - 09:43 am
3
6
Although I totally agree about Azziz'z seeming megalomania,

this editorial comes across as very shrill.

This overstep may well be the tip of the iceberg but I think outrage is more effectively served up very cool and with complete calm.

Fiat_Lux
15913
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Fiat_Lux 04/25/13 - 09:54 am
9
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Two points possibly worth considering

1. How did it not occur to this man that, at the very least, he should check to see if personal use of public property was allow or could be approved. Using the presidential palace already was known to be allowed, but did he simply assume the rest were his rightful perks?

2. From yesterday's article on A's request of an independent review:

Azziz said in a prepared statement released late Wednesday. “My team and I will make every effort to support the System in their assessment.”

What "team" is he thinking of using? Is he planning to divert more public resources, ie, MCG employees' time on the clock, to deal with this personnel matter?

prov227
3267
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prov227 04/25/13 - 10:20 am
6
0
Better terminology would be ...

"my court and I will make ... assessment." It is interesting that he immediately thinks in terms of the university's employees to solve his personal problem.

GiantsAllDay
9865
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GiantsAllDay 04/25/13 - 10:36 am
7
1
"The reporter asked GRU

"The reporter asked GRU students what they thought of Azziz’s actions. They were rightly outraged, with one noting that students recently had to use their own cars to get to a school-sponsored trip to the Augusta Youth Development campus."

Remember George Orwell's Animal Farm? "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Also are the cops that were paid cash under the table going to pay income taxes on that?

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 04/25/13 - 11:31 am
5
1
Looks like there is some Azziz bashing going on here

Looks like we have FINALLY found common ground. I have no ties to Aug. State Univ. nor the GRU hospital, BUT IT IS TIME FOR THIS GUY TO BAUGH OUT IN ANY WAY THAT HE CAN !!

my.voice
4927
Points
my.voice 04/25/13 - 11:45 am
6
1
The BOR probably gave him the

The BOR probably gave him the keys to the bus. I mean, they did self-name the university after all. And echoes of Azziz saying that MCG didn't put emphasis on the medical research power of the university.

And GRUA does that?

Purple_Blood
38
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Purple_Blood 04/25/13 - 11:59 am
7
0
GiantsAllDay

The officers didn't plan on paying taxes because they weren't paid. They will be now, and it won't be under the table.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 04/25/13 - 12:21 pm
4
1
GREAT STATEMENTS my.voice & Purple_Blood

These two statements probably sum it all up !! This guy MUST lay golden eggs. I mean, he can DO ABSOLUTELY NO WRONG where these desk-jockies are concerned !

Sweet son
10752
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Sweet son 04/25/13 - 12:37 pm
8
0
Great Editorial by Mr. Morris and AC staff!!!

Keep 'em coming! Don't let up!

GiantsAllDay
9865
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/25/13 - 01:15 pm
4
1
Purple blood: please read

Purple blood: please read again the article by Steve Crawford about the independent review. "In response to questions about whether the officers should have been paid, Carter said she was informed Wednesday that the four state employees – GRU Police Chief Bill McBride, Maj. Eugene Maxwell, Lt. Derik Still and Officer Peter Barbara – were paid in cash by the bride and groom."
My question is, will they declare this on their tax reruns the same way waitresses have to declare tips? Also, how much was it?

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/25/13 - 01:47 pm
0
0
He was,
Unpublished

is and always will be a hollyweirdo.

KSL
134725
Points
KSL 04/25/13 - 02:13 pm
3
1
Sounds like purple_blood has

Sounds like purple_blood has inside information, giants.

GiantsAllDay
9865
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/25/13 - 03:03 pm
7
0
I'm loving this "shuttle

I'm loving this "shuttle gate". I know it's not watergate, but still, it's fun. I hope the AC keeps investigating and brings forth more details. Who else here besides me wants to see Azziz walk out on the MCG lawn, flip the peace sign with both hands and then get on a helicopter, never to be seen again? Mr McKee, please feel free to use my idea in a cartoon.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 04/25/13 - 05:13 pm
5
0
More than just police pay...

When police officers work "extra duty assignments", they use their government vehicles in the process. So how the police officers were paid is one piece of the puzzle. How about the expense of operating their police vehicles? Idling for hours upon hours in order to operate air conditioning isn't cheap. Will the state be reimbursed this expense?

GiantsAllDay
9865
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/25/13 - 05:41 pm
5
0
Big green thumb goes to

Big green thumb goes to Riverman. Yes, chief McBride is an officer of the law, but I get the feeling he's loyal to Azziz. Perhaps he can play the part of G Gordon Liddy in shuttlegate. We already know that the spokeswoman who refused to talk to the reporter is Rosemary Woods. Once we figure out who John Dean is, things will REALLY start to unravel. AC, you still investigating this?

jmo
16772
Points
jmo 04/25/13 - 06:39 pm
3
0
Misappropriation......

Stealing by another name.

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