Yesterday, WSB-TV reported on a U.S. Department of Justice audit that showed alarming mismanagement of federal funds by the Atlanta Police Department. The federal audit report used by WSB stated: “We are concerned that the City of Atlanta may not be able to properly manage the $16.9 million it has been awarded under the 2009 Recovery Act.”

The Ramage Report has dug a little deeper and found a follow-up report showing that of all funding recipients audited, the APD is the only one that failed to meet requirements in every category. At least one of the infractions occurred as recently as summer 2010. 

When the Office of the Inspector (OIG) general set out in 2009 to audit how well the Justice Department was overseeing its Edward Byrne JAG (Justice Assistance Grant) Awards and Competitive Grants, it found Justice needed to tighten up: It was giving taxpayer money to applicants whose application packets were not complete.

But then the OIG took the additional step of auditing 12 JAG award recipients to see what they were doing with the money. The audited organizations were chosen on the basis of the number of grants received and their amount, location, and prior audit history. According to an August 2010 audit report, a broader one than the July 2010 used by WSB (which was limited to APD), the audited grant recipients were:

  • Washington D.C. Justice Grants Administration (an agency set up by D.C. to handle its grants)
  • New Jersey Dept. of Law and Public Safety
  • Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement
  • Atlanta Police Dept.
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
  • Jackson, Miss. Police
  • Kansas Governor’s Office
  • Kenosha, Wis. Police
  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
  • Providence, Rhode Island Police
  • Nevada Dept. of Public Safety
  • Marion County, South Carolina

The OIG found that nine of the 12 recipients had some problems, something that indicated the Justice Department itself may not been stringent enough or clear enough about requirements, as acknowledged by the report.

But only the APD showed deficiencies in every category.

According to the report, the APD regularly failed to turn in basic paperwork, couldn’t account for large sums of money, claimed to be employing people it wasn’t, and boasted hundreds of youths participated in one program but a sign up sheet showed only 19 attendees.

Here are the categories and the recipients that showed problems.

1. Internal Control Environment: How the recipient makes sure the grant is being used properly

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “The City of Atlanta did not have sufficient staff with the training and experience to properly manage the grants. The city’s 2009 Single Audit contained multiple findings that could affect DOJ grants. The Single Audit stated that the city is ‘not a low-risk grantee.’”
  • Washington D.C.’s Justice Grants Administration
  • City of Jackson, Miss.
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

2. Grant Expenditures: The DOJ requires grantees to use the grant funds only for allowable expenses and maintain support for all expenses charged against the grant.


Atlanta Police Dept. Could not provide supporting documentation for $167,793 in grant expenditures. The grantee made $23,368 in unallowable grant expenditures. 
Jackson, Miss. Police Could not provide supporting documentation for $5,407 in grant expenditures.
Washington D.C.’s Justice Grants Administration  Could not provide supporting documentation for $324,011 in grant expenditures. The grantee also made $53,495 in unallowable grant expenditures. 
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Could not provide supporting documentation for $36,323 in grant expenditures and made $1,546 in unallowable grant expenditures. Further, the grantee did not identify and report $3,482,466 in program income related to the grant.
Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Could not provide supporting documentation for $6,972 in grant expenditures.

3. Property management. Property acquired with federal funds must be adequately protected from loss. Grant recipients and their subrecipients’ or contractors’ property records must be maintained and include, at a minimum, a description of the property, serial number or other identification number, location of the property, and records that indicate the use and condition of the property. 

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “The Police Department could not account for a $2,975 property item used to enforce speed limits. A police officer stated he did not know the location of the item that was assigned to an officer on duty in Iraq.”
  • Kenosha, Wis. Police Dept.
  • Nevada Dept. of Public Safety
  • Washington D.C. Justice Grants Administration
  • Jackson, Miss.

4. Management of Subrecipients or Contractors. Grant recipients are responsible for monitoring subrecipients’ activities to provide reasonable assurance that subrecipients administer Federal awards in compliance with Federal requirements.

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “The Police Department did not monitor its subrecipients and had no procedures for doing so. Consequently, 61 percent of reimbursements to one subrecipient were not adequately supported by purchase orders, receipts, timesheets, or other supporting documentation. The Police Department received funding under the 2009 Recovery Act grant to hire a Project Administrator to oversee eight subrecipients of Recovery Act funds. On June 15, 2010, a city official stated that a Project Administrator had been hired and was scheduled to begin work the following week.”
  • Office of the Governor of Kansas
  • Nevada Dept. of Public Safety
  • Washington D.C. Justice Grants Administration
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
  • Jackson, Miss.
  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement

5. Submission of Financial Status Reports

 Atlanta Police Dept.: “Three of 27 Financial Status Reports tested were submitted from 1 to 82 days late. Two of the Financial Status Reports were late because the person responsible for preparing the reports had only been in her position for a short time and was not aware that she was responsible for submitting the Financial Status Reports. City officials could not explain why the other report was submitted late.

  • Marion County, S.C.
  • Washington D.C. Justice Grants Administration
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

6. Submission of annual progress reports

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “Eleven annual progress reports for six Byrne JAG grants were submitted from 6 to 339 days late. … In addition, for one of the grant recipient’s 2006 Byrne JAG grants, the final progress report had not been submitted and was 163 days late as of June 10, 2010. City officials cited various reasons for the late reports including layoffs of hundreds of city workers that put added responsibilities on the remaining staff, and failure to understand the reporting requirements….For one of the 2006 Byrne JAG grants, the progress reports for the periods ended June 30, 2008, and August 31, 2008, showed that 756 and 257 youth, respectively, had completed nonviolence training. However, city officials could only provide one sign-in sheet showing that 19 youth attended conflict resolution training on June 2, 2007. For one of the city’s 2007 Byrne JAG grants, the progress report for the period ended December 31, 2008, stated that in cooperation with the Police Athletic League, the city had organized several youth sports teams and purchased uniforms. The final progress report for the period ended March 31, 2009, cited numbers of arrests for various types of crimes. City officials could not provide support for these actions reported in the progress reports.”
  • Marion County, S.C.
  • Kenosha, Wis. Police Dept.
  • Office of the Governor of Kansas
  • Nevada Dept. of Public Safety
  • Washington D.C. Justice Grants Administration
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement

7. Submission of Quarterly Recovery Act reports

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “In its Recovery Act report for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, the city reported that it had created 22 new positions. However, documentation provided by the city showed that 3 of the 22 positions were filled after December 31, 2009. Therefore, the city overstated the December 31, 2009, report by three positions.”
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement

8. Program Performance and Accomplishment

  • Atlanta Police Dept.: “The grant recipient did not meet, or could not show that it met, most grant goals and objectives.”
  • Nevada Dept. of Public Safety
  • Jackson, Miss.
  • Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement


  1. Maybe this embarrassing debacle was before Mayor Kasim Reed’s term of office…
    but weren’t grants under the command of then Deputy Chief George Turner?

    1. @LA Actually, as you can see in the second paragraph, at least one of the infractions–a report that was more than five months late–occurred in summer 2010.

  2. Nothing bad about the APD surprises me anymore, and that is a shock. It means that I (along with others) have become desensitized to the APD’s multiple continuing failures:
    Monumental administrative apathy/arrogance/incompetence/fraud,
    Cops ignorant of the law,
    Rogue cops who are acquainted with the law but ignore it,
    Outright criminals wearing a badge,
    Lost court suits one after the other,
    Etc., etc. etc. ad nauseam.

    I trust that there are good cops in the APD, but why aren’t they running the show?

    If the Mayor wants to build a real legacy, he should clean up the APD and facilitate cleaning up the APS.

  3. Great reporting, Stephanie. Of course, APD isn’t the only part of the City of Atlanta that has problems when it comes to federal grants. Remember the Empowerment Zone/Renewal Community debacle, which was reported on in great depth by the AJC last year, in which something like $30M of a $50M federal allocation had to go back to the federal government last year because, unlike almost every other municipality across the country, City bureaucrats couldn’t find a way to make sure that the City’s most underserved communities spent their allocations…

  4. It is like Groundhog Day. Wake up and the city is violating the law yet again and no one is held accountable. I am sure they will find some unsuspecting civilian or officer to blame and will drag this poor fool in front of the Citizen Review Board so they can bayonet the wounded. Classic.

  5. APD is gonna be Mayor Reed’s downfall. If he doesn’t clean up that mess right now he’s not going to make it to Washington, DC. His patron Sister Shirley lost out on her bid for greater fame when Atlanta’s financial crisis came to light. Some folks just never learn…

  6. I wonder if any of these grants were used to buy the mayor’s and the cfo’s brand new Denali’s? This Mayor is even more of a joke than I thought he would be. When he was running I saw what he was….just another plant by the “machine” that has run this city forever!!!!
    There should be criminal charges brought against the people that were assigned to the departments that received the grant. Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t someone be held accountable for the mismanagement? You already saw the Mayor “dip” on this one…..”It was done before my arrival”!!!!
    I held hopes out during this election, and I see where some on the city council have been doing what they can to try and make it right, but it seems as if the old saying is true…..Meet the new boss….same as the old boss!!!!!

    1. Thank heavens there’s no Olympic Games on the horizon to totally bankrupt the City!
      But then there’s the new stadium that Arthur Blank wants the taxpayers to build for him. (Another rant on another day)

  7. Brock, if you look in the rear view mirror, I believe you’ll see enough Olympic debt still there on the horizon to bankrupt the city. Not only will you see financial decay but also unconscionable corruption and greed. Moral bankruptcy is rampant. It is in the past, present, and forbodingly to be in the future of Atlanta. Atlanta mayors seem obsessed with leaving a legacy. I say they are merely looking for a cloud of distraction to obfuscate the real legacy–moral corruption. It is the self-serving mayoral moral bankruptcy which has brought the city of Atlanta to the brink of financial doom. Some say, “Follow the money.” I say, “Follow the corruption backwards and you’ll have the pattern for the present as well as the prophecy for the future.

    1. smart cookie, I agree with you. My comment about the no new Olympic debt doesn’t make the old debt (has it only been 15 years) magically go away.

      Regarding Atlanta mayors, my memory goes back to William Hartsfield. Under the old mayors (Hartsfield & Ivan Allen), city government was corrupt but it worked. Under the new mayors (Sam Massell, Maynard Jackson, Andy Young, Bill Campbell, Shirley Franklin and now Kasim Reed). city government is monumentally corrupt and nothing works. I count Sam Massell as the first new mayor because he caved in to the AFSCME union garbage workers strike, starting the City down the slippery slope.

  8. There is a legacy being left here. Inept politics, cronyism, and the ruination of what could have been a beautiful, world renowned, marquee city. How proud they all must be of how such a small group of politicians has derailed such an elite city full of such an amazing array of history and promise.

  9. Burroughston and Rob, welcome to the party. There’s enough at the City of Atlanta Buffet to serve all who wish to grab a plate or even a platter. No one knows how to throw a party at the taxpayer’s expense like the mayors and cronies of Atlanta’s mayors. Remember the pricey event at the airport a number of years ago. Seems that then-candidate Shirley Franklin made that a lynchpin of her resolve to be a paragon of responsible city government, if elected. Seems that the groaning board of financial irresponsibility and corruption added a do-it yourself dessert course in addition to refreshing the buffet. And don’t forget to load up the to-go containers.

  10. What contracts, Sophie? Perhaps you’re referring to campaign promises. We all know what happens to campaign contracts, don’t we? The road to Hell is paved with the asphalt which is supposed to repair the potholes and sinkholes of Atlanta.

    1. I thought that Shirley Franklin’s Pothole Posse (promised in her mfirst tem but never delivered) was supposed to fix all of the potholes.

  11. Buroughston…the reason the good cops don’t run the department is because the good ones can’t be corrupted (there’s that word again). They don’t play politics or try to get some dirt on someone to use another day, for their own personal/professional benefit. All one has to do is look at the Eagle raid and how that was handled. All about protecting the brass and the city. That started as an anonymous complaint to the mayor’s office. Do people call the mayors office to complain about crime? Yes. But those complaints would then be passed down to the police. How often do you think that is done? Probably…ummm let me see, hardly ever. That was a deliberate attempt to close that business down for reasons no one will ever know. Some arrests, some publicity and lo and behold, liquor license not renewed and business closed. The major involved used to work for Franklin. Can you imagine the dirt she has? On top of all of that, most of the folks running the place couldn’t hold a job anywhere else. All one has to do is look at some of APD’s alumni and all the damage they’ve done in their post retirement jobs. You’ll see some of the other departments with attrition rates higher than APD’s. As for the grant money debacle, all one has to do is work there for about 6 months and you’ll realize that it’s par for the course. Because what happens? Nothing. No one is held accountable. Look at the lawsuits, who pays? The taxpayers. It’s like free money. Put one or two folks in a room with a US Attorney and start asking them some questions. You’ll find out where the money went real quick.

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